Harris-Moore faces more counts

MOUNT VERNON — Add two more criminal counts to the mounting legal case against Colton Harris-Moore, the notorious “Barefoot Bandit” from Camano Island.

Skagit County prosecutors just before Thanksgiving filed two new charges against Harris-Moore, 19, including first-degree theft and second-degree burglary, both punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The criminal cases against Harris-Moore now include five federal charges in connection with his alleged crime spree, plus more than a dozen theft and burglary charges in San Juan, Island and Skagit counties. He’s also been charged in Nebraska.

If convicted, Harris-Moore could face more than a decade behind bars, although the calculus in a complex cases like his is tricky.

The most recent criminal charges to be filed stem from an alleged break-in at the Port of Anacortes Airport on Feb. 11. Harris-Moore stole a Cirrus SR 22 airplane valued at more than $500,000 and flew it to nearby Orcas Island, according to court documents.

The small, single-engine plane crashed at the north end of the landing field near Eastsound. Investigators matched a fingerprint on the aileron to Harris-Moore, prosecutors said.

Harris-Moore also left hand-written notes inside the plane, said Erik Pedersen, a senior deputy prosecutor in Skagit County. Pedersen said the notes appeared to be for Harris-Moore’s personal use. The prosecutor declined to provide further details. Crime lab analysts also used the handwriting to connect the plane theft to Harris-Moore.

Pedersen said he filed the charges now because he had sufficient evidence.

“I don’t like sitting on my cases,” Pedersen said.

Seattle attorney John Henry Browne is representing Harris-Moore in federal court. Browne said Friday the criminal charges in Skagit County were anticipated.

Browne said he’s working toward a global plea agreement with federal prosecutors for Harris-Moore. He hopes to include the state charges, including those in Skagit County, in the plea deal.

Pedersen said he’s taking with his peers in other counties and with federal prosecutors.

Harris-Moore was arrested July 11 in the Bahamas after a two-year run that allegedly included nearly 100 crimes in nine states and three countries. He’s suspected of stealing five airplanes, several cars and boats and breaking into dozens of homes and businesses.

A five-count indictment was filed Nov. 10 in U.S. District Court in Seattle charging Harris-Moore with two plane thefts, a boat theft and weapons charges. One of the federal charges is flying without an airman’s certificate. The Skagit County case charges Harris-Moore with the theft of the same plane.

Harris-Moore is identified in the Skagit County court papers not only by his birth name, but also by his alias, the “Barefoot Bandit.” He earned the nickname after he was seen running from crimes without shoes. He also used it on a note left in May at a veterinary clinic in Raymond, Wash.

Harris-Moore’s federal trail is scheduled to begin Jan. 18, a date his defense attorney said is likely to slip. In the meantime, the 6-foot, 5-inch defendant remains locked up in isolation at the Federal Detention Center in Sea-Tac.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; jholtz@heraldnet.com.

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