From MSNBC (7 October 2009)
Excerpt from AFP (and picked up by Australia's ABC)
SEATTLE, Washington — Eighteen-year-old Colton Harris-Moore is achieving folk hero status as the "Barefoot Bandit" in the US and Canada after a string of burglaries and dare-devil escapes from the law.
Romanticized by some as a latter-day "Billy the Kid" figure but regarded by others as a common thief, Harris Moore has a criminal record stretching back to when he was just 12 and a penchant for kicking off his shoes before fleeing.
Caught in 2007 and sentenced to detention in a halfway house near Seattle, the teenager from Camano Island, north of Seattle, escaped the following year and his legend began to grow.
Shortly after breaking out, he was being pursued driving a stolen Mercedes-Benz near his mother?s home when he jumped from the moving vehicle and ran into the woods, leaving police with a wrecked car filled with loot.
Among stolen possessions recovered was a digital camera the fugitive used to take a self-portrait. The photograph, complete with self-assured smirk, has become the public face of a teenage robber who has now become an Internet idol.
This morning, when I checked the facebook fan club, there were around 10 000 members, tonight some 12 hours later, it has grown by another 4000.
- Time magazine (America's Most Wanted Teenage Bandit, 21 December 2009)
- Everett Herald
- Seattle Weekly
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Of course, a character like Colton would most likely be embraced in Australia, where historically, our folk heroes have been bushrangers like Ned Kelly, Ben Hall and Captain Moonlight who were romanticised in an anti-authoritarian manner.
Colton is no hero, but one can't resist admiring him for his skills of survival and elusion.
Such a naughty boy. Santa probably left him a lump of coal.