CAMANO ISLAND — For the first time since July 2008, Island County sheriff’s officials say they have firm evidence that the notorious teenage burglar Colton Harris-Moore has returned to his island home.
Since May, the sheriff’s office has reported an increase in burglaries on south Camano Island and suggested there may be a link to Harris-Moore, 18.
In June, Sheriff Mark Brown said he couldn’t rule Harris-Moore out, but also couldn’t say that the elusive teenage fugitive was responsible.
Now, that’s changed.
“The Island County Sheriff’s Office does in fact have information and evidence that links Colton Harris-Moore to recent criminal activity on Camano Island,” Undersheriff Kelly Mauck said Wednesday.
If they knew the fugitive’s exact location, he’d be behind bars, Mauck said.
Detectives declined to discuss their evidence.
“We are not releasing any specifics at this time because we believe this information will be critical,” in making arrests and successful prosecution, Mauck said.
Harris-Moore last was arrested in February 2007 after several months on the run.
At the time, he was suspected in a number of burglaries in vacation homes on Camano Island. Detectives believe he slept on couches and ate food from pantries.
The teen escaped from a Renton group home more than a year ago after being ordered to serve a three-year sentence for residential burglary.
Last July, he returned to Camano Island and was involved in a police pursuit that ended when he crashed a stolen luxury car. He ran off and despite efforts by professional trackers, the teen eluded capture.
Police released a self-portrait Harris-Moore apparently took July 8, 2008, using a stolen digital camera.
In August 2008, officials said they believed Harris-Moore had left the island.
In March, Island County prosecutors filed 10 new charges against Harris-Moore relating to his island visit last summer. Harris-Moore was charged in juvenile court but likely will face prosecution as an adult when he’s arrested, Island County prosecutors said.
There are several warrants out for Harris-Moore’s arrest.
Anyone helping Harris-Moore could face charges of aiding a criminal, officials have said.
“It is important that the citizens of Camano Island remain vigilant and take reasonable steps to protect their property, not just to protect themselves from a Colton Harris-Moore, but to protect themselves from any person like him who is willing to take advantage of hard working, honest people,” the sheriff said.
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437, firstname.lastname@example.org