There can be fewer more outrageously cheeky criminals in history than 20 year old Colton Harris-Moore, dubbed the Barefoot Bandit, because many times he committed his crimes quite literally in bare feet, and he showed little emotion after pleading guilty to seven felonies in a Seattle federal court recently. Having made a deal with federal prosecutors, which meant that he could make no profit from the movie due to be made about his extraordinary crime spree, he can expect to be imprisoned for up to six and a half years.
The deal struck allows him to sell his story through a third party negotiator, any profits helping pay an estimated $1.5 million back to his many victims, the list of which is staggering. In a two year spree that had law enforcement officials gasping, this young man stole at least five small aircrafts, two cars that are known of as well as burglarizing at least 100 homes in Canada and the Pacific Northwest United States.
Only 18 when caught, in the Bahamas in July 2010, which he had flown to in a stolen plane, he achieved instant notoriety for his brazen criminal career, gaining 100,000 followers on facebook in only a few days, and having t-shirts and other merchandise about him. appearing in many shops. It was in April this year that movie-makers 20th Century Fox bought the film rights to a book written about him entitled Taking Flight: The Hunt for a Young Outlaw.
It would seem, by all accounts, that Cotton was not a popular kid in his home town, growing up, but there is no over-riding reason for his having taken to this life of crime at such a young age. In court hepleaded guilty to crimes of bank burglary, aircraft theft, firearm theft, being a fugitive,; piloting aircraft without a license and, stealing cars, with more than 30 state felony charges in four counties, which could add time to his eventual sentence, still pending/
There was a movie some time ago about a con artist, beautifully played by Leonardo de Caprio, which showed the lighter side of criminal behaviour, but the Barefoot Bandit was not a nice guy in any sense of the word, just a surly youngster with an enormous chip on his shoulder than he fed by flouting every law that he could think of. That nobody got hurt badly or killed can be the only saving grace for this young thug, though he undoubtedly has a fan-club of misguided individuals who see him as some kind of anti-hero.
This brazen young villain had hop-scotched his way across the US, often crash-landing planes, that he never learned to fly, then i stealing cars from small airport lots. Everything he did was featured in print and on the web, a fan base of people seeing him as an anti-authority cult figure growing all the time
His spate of criminal acts began in late 2009 and early 2010, when accused of flying a stolen plane from Anacortes, in northwestern Washington, to the San Juan Islands, later stealing a pistol and taking another plane from an Idaho hangar, CSIs finding bare footprints on floor and wall. He crashed near Washington, when the plane ran dry, then made his way to Oregon in a stolen 32-ft boat, before stealing another plane in Indiana flying off and crash landing in the Bahamas, where he was later captured.
I somehow suspect that this young man will come to regret making the deal he did, because the film, when released, is sure to be a huge hit globally with young people, who can empathize with the young Cotton. However you look at it, 20th century Fox will be well in the money, and the hapless Barefoot Bandit will have for once have been robbed blind himself. Perhaps there is some justice in the world, after all.