'Barefoot Bandit' Colton Harris-Moore Back on U.S. Soil, Vows to Turn Life Around

Colton Harris-Moore is back on U.S. soil, expected back in court Friday

ByRYAN OWENS and SARAH NETTER via via logo
July 13, 2010, 1:43 PM

July 14, 2010— -- The "Barefoot Bandit" is back on U.S. soil and has vowed to change his outlaw ways.

Colton Harris-Moore appeared briefly in Miami federal court today, one day after he was deported from the Bahamas.

He told the judge that he had an attorney but didn't know the attorney's name.

"I spoke to my mom. She said she had one," he told the judge after being asked how he would know of an attorney, but not the name.

Harris said he last spoke to his mother a week ago.

The judge gave him two days to sort out his legal affairs and scheduled another hearing for Friday. A public defender agreed to help Harris-Moore locate the attorney.

Harris-Moore is expected to be held in a detention center until the U.S. Marshals can arrange to transport him back to Seattle, where the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington, is coordinating what is likely to be a lengthy list of charges. Harris-Moore is a suspect in a string of burglaries, boat and plane thefts and break-ins across the Pacific Northwest, and for crimes elsewhere.

His flight to Miami Tuesday was seemingly his first flight in more than two years that didn't involve a stolen plane.

Harris-Moore's Bahamian attorney Monique Gomez said the 19-year-old told her he was ready to go back to his native Washington state, even if it's in handcuffs.

"Yesterday he said to me he really wants to go home and deal with the situations at home," she told "Good Morning America" today.

Harris-Moore was deported after pleading guilty in a Bahamian court to a minor illegal entry charge. Gomez said it is possible he may later face additional charges.

"He says that if he had come from a stable home he may not have done the things he did," she said. "He said to me he intends to change his life."

Harris-Moore, who grew up poor and was convicted of his first crime at age 12. In the months before his arrest, he had apparently branched out from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest, where he's listed as a suspect for crimes committed in South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana.

So far, Gomez said, Harris-Moore had not spoken to his mother, despite statements she'd made to the media that she is looking forward to seeing him again.

Gomez said he spoke to her about his hardscrabble life and about his awe for the crystal blue waters of the Bahamas.

"He also said the next time he comes, he's going to make sure to come legally," she said.

But he did not share with her a motive for his alleged crime spree.

Harris-Moore's two years on the run came to an end fitting for a Hollywood movie, when he was taken into custody in the Bahamas after a half-hour long boat chase that ended with police riddling his boat with bullets. The arrest came less than a week after he allegedly crashed a small plane into the shallow waters of the Caribbean hours after it had been stolen from an Indiana hangar.

Gomez said she joked with the wily teen that he should apply for a job with the CIA and use his talents for good.

"He said, yeah, sure, he'd think about it in a few years," she said, adding that the cheeky teenager boasted he'd be able to catch Osama bin Laden if the government gave him the chance. "He said if the CIA gave him a month he's sure he'd be able to capture him."

So far, Harris-Moore is being held on a single count of interstate transportation of stolen goods. The charge was filed in December 2009, stemming from an incident in which a plane was stolen from Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, and crashed in Granite Falls.

Despite the outlandish and brazen crimes he is suspected of orchestrating, Gomez said she found him to be sincere when Harris-Moore said he was ready to face U.S. authorities. What comes next for Harris-Moore is up to him.

"He's highly skilled, very intelligent," she said, "and I'm very confident that if he puts his mind to it he can do anything.

Western District of Washington spokeswoman Emily Langlie told ABC News that the Miami judge will decide bond for Harris-Moore, basing it according to his flight risk and danger to the community.

"I think the expectation in any detention hearing is the government will argue that Colton Harris-Moore is a flight risk," Langlie said. "I think he's proven that."

Langlie said she expected additional charges against Harris-Moore would be added when federal officials seek a grand jury indictment, but she said her office was still working with other federal districts to inquire about possibly consolidating all the federal charges against Harris-Moore into the Western District of Washington.

Her office is also in contact with local prosecutors, who can decide between working with the U.S. Attorney's Office or proceeding with their own criminal complaints.

'Barefoot Bandit' Eluded Police From Pacific Northwest to Bahamas

The bandit's last moments of freedom on the Bahamas' Harbor Island appeared to have been filled with panic.

Kenny Strachan, security director of the Romora Bay Marina where Harris-Moore was taken into custody, told ABCNews.com that he first spotted someone who appeared to be a teenager racing away from the boats toward the exit of the marina. Strachan caught up with him and realized that it was the same person 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 that had 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 a Uzi.

"The FBI told the Bahamian police to stop this guy at any cost," said William Sport, who owned the boat commandeered by police. "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.

Back in the Pacific Northwest, the arrest of "Barefoot Bandit" drew cheers from some of his alleged victims and tears from his fans.

A Facebook page dedicated to Harris-Moore boasted more tens of thousands of fans.

"Dude bummer that u got caught," one poster wrote, 'but u made history and no one will forget that."

"Dang Colton," wrote another, "I was for sure you were NEVER going to get caught!!! Shucks!!!"

Harris-Moore's supporters recently began preparing for his arrest.

Shauna Snyder, who describes herself on her Web site as a criminal defense investigator and owner of Skepteon Investigations, began collecting donations for Harris-Moore's legal defense fund shortly before his arrest.

She declined to tell ABCNews.com how much she had collected for the teen.

"Donations have been coming in," she said, "and there's been a lot of interest."

She wrote on her Web site that she met Harris-Moore while working on his defense team when he was 16 years old. She described him as a "friendly, polite and intelligent kid."

ABC News' Marcia Izaguirre contributed to this report.

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