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Oliver Twisted

Colton Harris-Moore, 18, is suspected in around 50 burglaries around the Seattle, Wash., metropolitan area in the last 18 months. He’s also a fugitive after escaping from a halfway house after one of his many convictions. Whenever a burglary victim — or the police — spot him, Harris-Moore, who is typically barefoot, runs into the woods and disappears. He grew up in the woods, and apparently knows how to hide in them. Police are especially worried about a new crime trend, which they think is being committed by Harris-Moore: airplane theft. Several small planes have been taken in recent months from hangars, where investigators have found bare footprints; all the planes were found crash-landed. His mother, Pam Kohler, doesn’t find much wrong with her boy’s activities. In fact, considering he doesn’t know how to fly a plane, he’s doing pretty well, she says. “I hope to hell he stole those airplanes,” she told a reporter. “I would be so proud. But put in there that I want him to wear a parachute next time.” Locals seem to think the hoodlum is some sort of folk hero for avoiding capture, but police say they don’t have the manpower to hunt him over a huge area for simple property crimes. (RC/Seattle Times) ...Let’s see what they all have to say when an empty plane crash-lands in a fireball at a school, while a barefooted felon hanging from a parachute watches.

Story Update: Harris-Moore was finally captured in 2010 — in the Bahamas — after stealing a boat there. As he tried to get away, police shot up the boat’s motor, and four police officers and a security guard that helped split the FBI’s $10,000 reward for his capture. He was deported and then brought back to Washington to stand trial. In state court, he was sentenced to more than seven years in prison. Harris-Moore said he planned to use his time in prison to study for college, where he hoped to get a degree in aeronautical engineering. In federal court, he was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison, to be served at the same time.

In 2016, Moore was transferred to a halfway house on parole, and got a job at his defense attorney’s Seattle law firm doing “low-level clerical work.&rhquo; His efforts to raise money via social media to fund flight school training were vetoed by his parole officer, who said any money raised must go toward the $129,000 in restitution that he owes his victims.

In December 2015, Moore began publishing a blog which has since been taken down. His stated intent was to break his long-standing silence, and to voice his support for presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Original Publication Date: 25 October 2009
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 16.

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