The complaint, unsealed this afternoon, charges Harris-Moore with interstate transportation of stolen property. The charge was announced hours after federal authorities acknowledged they are hunting Harris-Moore after a plane was stolen from an Indiana hangar over the weekend and crashed Sunday in shallow water off the Bahamas.
“We want to get him. He's turned from a regional nuisance into an international problem, if that is in fact him,” FBI Special Agent Steven Dean said today.
A press release issued on the U.S. Embassy's Website in Nassau, Bahamas, said the theft is consistent with other crimes related to the Camano Island fugitive.
Agents found an abundance of evidence at the Granite Falls plane crash that linked the theft to Harris-Moore, according to the criminal complaint filed in December under seal in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Detectives found DNA in the stolen plane, bare footprints and other stolen property linked to Harris-Moore, the complaint said.
There are more than 65 criminal investigations into the so-called “Barefoot Bandit.” The federal complaint confirms that police have evidence of Harris-Moore committing crimes without shoes. Bare footprints were found at the Granite Falls crash site and at an airport burglary in Creston, British Columbia, the court papers said.
The federal charges are the first time officials have pinned the plane crash discovered on Oct. 1 on Harris-Moore. The FBI today said a $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Harris-Moore's arrest.
The teen has been on the run since he escaped a Seattle-area group home in April 2008. Since then, Harris-Moore, 19, is suspected of stealing nearly $3 million worth of planes, vehicles and boats, and of committing several burglaries.
He's allegedly been on a cross-country crime spree since June 1.
The latest plane theft ended Sunday with a crash about six miles off the coast of Sandy Point, which is on the western edge of Abaco Island in the Bahamas. The water there is about three feet deep, meaning Harris-Moore could have waded ashore.
Since the plane crashed on Sunday, Bahamian police also have confirmed a home burglary and a car theft, officials told the Bloomington (Indiana) Herald-Times today.
Officials in the Bahamas believe he may be injured, according to the State Department press release.
The Cessna was taken from a locked hangar late Saturday or early Sunday, said officials at the Monroe County Airport in Indiana. Previous news reports about surveillance video pinning Harris-Moore to the Indiana crime scene were inaccurate, the FBI's Dean said.
Somebody flew the single-engine plane about 1,200 miles. About 11 hours after the plane crash-landed in the waters off the Bahamian island of Abaco, a home was burglarized and a vehicle parked there was stolen, Bahamian police told the Herald-Times.
U.S. embassy officials alerted Bahamian police that Harris-Moore could be on the loose, said Glenn Anthony Miller, assistant commissioner with the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
When police examined the plane, they did not find anybody, or any signs of injury, Miller said.
“We suspect that maybe the individual is a good swimmer, or the water may not have been that deep,” he said.
Harris-Moore is about 6 feet, 5 inches tall.
Listen to Herald reporter Jackson Holtz
Herald reporter Jackson Holtz will discuss the latest about the Colton Harris-Moore case at 1:05 this afternoon on KIRO radio (97.3 FM).
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