DNA match puts Colton Harris-Moore at crime scene on Orcas Island

EASTSOUND, San Juan County — Colton Harris-Moore apparently cut his hand while trying to break into an ATM at a grocery store on Orcas Island last month.

That blood, found Sept. 8 on a sink at the Island Market in Eastsound, was tested by the state crime lab and the result showed a DNA match to the notorious and elusive Camano

Island teenager, according to court papers filed in San Juan County Superior Court.

Harris-Moore’s blood was found despite bleach being used to try to destroy all traces of the genetic evidence following the break in, police said.

San Juan County prosecutors used the DNA evidence to charge Harris-Moore, 18, with second-degree burglary. Last week they issued a $20,000 warrant for his arrest.

The DNA match is the first proof of the teenager’s exact whereabouts since police found a self-portrait Harris-Moore took on July 8, 2008. The photo was found on a stolen digital camera left behind in a stolen Mercedes.

Before that, the only place police have said they could pinpoint the 18-year-old with any certainty was the juvenile half-way house he escaped from in April 2008.

Still, the teenager is believed to have roamed the Pacific Northwest in stolen planes, cars and boats. He’s suspected in dozens of burglaries in Island, San Juan and Whatcom counties, and in Idaho and British Columbia.

Speculation that Harris-Moore was headed back to his home on Camano Island grew when a stolen plane was found crashed near Granite Falls on Oct. 1. On Sunday, Snohomish

County deputies were called to investigate a residential burglary near the crash site. During the investigation, someone shot at the deputies.

No one was hurt and no arrests have been made despite a massive manhunt Monday by dozens of SWAT team members.

Snohomish County officials have refused to link the Granite Falls crimes to Harris-Moore, saying they need to wait for evidence to be tested.

Island County sheriff’s deputies on Monday searched for the teen outside the rural Camano Island home of his mother, Pam Kohler.

Kohler said she fears for her son’s safety and that her boy is being unfairly linked to every burglary, stolen car, plane and boat in the northwest.

The San Juan County case began when a store employee went to work around 5 a.m. on Sept. 8, the court document said.

The ATM machine was heavily damaged and whoever it was apparently used bleach to “clean trace evidence,” the court document said.

An Island County sheriff’s detective who has investigated Harris-Moore in the past also reviewed surveillance video taken during the break in and identified the suspect as the teenage burglar, the court document said.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said the most important piece of police work right now is bringing the crime spree suspect into custody.

“What I need to concentrate on is whoever did all these crimes,” he said. “If, and I say if, and I say if Colton Harris-Moore is a suspect, then I hope we catch Colton Harris-Moore, or whoever is responsible.”

In addition to the San Juan County warrant issued Friday, there are 10 outstanding felony charges against Harris-Moore in Island County. He’s also listed in an FBI database as a fugitive from justice.

“His present location is unknown,” the court document said. “There is no reason to believe that he would respond to a summons.”

Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or jholtz@heraldnet.com.

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