Prolific young burglar gets 3 years

COUPEVILLE – A 16-year-old boy who went on a Camano Island burglary spree and avoided police for months will spend the rest of his teenage years behind bars.

Colton Harris-Moore gained notoriety in February after sheriff’s deputies launched a major effort to nab the youth, whose thefts forced residents in the wooded areas on the south end of the island to make sure their cars and home doors were locked.

He was arrested in February and at first was charged with 12 counts of possessing stolen property, deputy Island County prosecutor Colleen Kenimond said.

On Thursday, an Island County Juvenile Court judge sentenced him to at least three years behind bars.

That means he will be about 19 when he gets out, Kenimond said.

Harris-Moore was arrested after a much-publicized game of cat and mouse with the Island County sheriff’s office.

His sentence was at least three years because of previous felony convictions of burglary and theft, Island Country Prosecuting Attorney Greg Banks said.

“This conviction and plea agreement serves the purposes of the juvenile justice system,” Banks said in a statement. “Mr. Harris-Moore will be held accountable for his crimes by a lengthy sentence, even by adult standards.”

Under the plea agreement, the teen will be required to repay all his victims. He will be held by the state Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, which will have three years to change his behavior with a structured environment that includes school and counseling, Banks said.

Harris-Moore pleaded guilty to three counts of residential burglary. The sentencing range is between three and nearly four years in a juvenile institution. How much time he spends behind bars will depend on his progress.

After his release, he will be on parole for at least six months, Kenimond said.

In September, police searched Harris-Moore’s tent camp and found a cache of stolen computers, cell phones, jewelry and expensive remote-controlled toys.

Deputies had been searching for Harris-Moore since July 2006 when he didn’t show up in court to face charges of theft and possession of stolen property.

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