Inside the Dramatic Arrest of 'Barefoot Bandit'

Colton Harris-Moore expected to make his first court appearance today.

ByABC News via logo
July 13, 2010, 1:43 PM

July 13, 2010— -- Colton Harris-Moore, the U.S. teenager known as the "Barefoot Bandit," will finally face charges after an alleged two-year crime spree that turned the 19-year-old fugitive into a kind of folk hero.

Harris-Moore is expected to make his first court appearance in the Bahamas around noon today. But it's hard to imagine that the coming chapters will be as dramatic as his last 30 minutes of freedom, which included a high-speed boat chase and police shoot-out where he appeared to consider killing himself before surrendering to authorities.

The bandit's last moments of freedom on Harbor Island appeared to have been filled with panic. At 2:45 a.m. Sunday morning, Harris-Moore left his shoes and shirt on the dock of the Romora Bay Marina, dove into the waters and swam to a boat.

"We hear some commotion outside and found out that my boat was stole, and then find out subsequently it was the 'Barefoot Bandit' everybody has been talking about," boat owner William Sport said.

Kenny Strachan, security director of the Romora Bay Marina where the teen was taken into custody, told ABC that he first spotted a teen racing away from the boats toward the exit of the marina. Strachan caught up with him and realized that it was the same teenager whose face had been plastered all over the Bahamas, fleeing with a gun.

When police learned that Harris-Moore had snaked his way back to the marina and climbed aboard a boat with the keys left inside, police borrowed a yacht from a marina patron and chased the bandit down.

"Everyone was screaming, 'You're caught. Put down your weapon ... Stop,'" said Jordan Sackett, who helped catch the fugitive. "He proceeded to put the weapon to his head ... saying, 'I'm going to kill myself. ... I won't go back to jail. I can't go back to jail.'"

Police fired on the stolen boat, disabling one engine with a shotgun and the other with an Uzi.

"The FBI told the Bahamian police to stop this guy at any cost," Sport said. "The cost is going to be my boat."

As police advanced, Harris-Moore began throwing his possessions overboard, including the gun and a laptop. Both were later recovered by police.

By 3:15 a.m., Harris-Moore was taken off the bullet-ridden boat and into custody.

"He was scared as it was happening but once it calmed down, once the shooting was over ... he was very nonchalant ... like he didn't care it had happened," Sackett said.

Harris-Moore had been on the run in the Bahamas for a week, after allegedly stealing a plane from an Indiana hangar to get there.

The FBI had been tracking Harris-Moore for about a year and offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

"He went from being a regional nuisance to an international problem," FBI Assistant Special Agent Steven Dean said last week before Harris-Moore's arrest.