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5 eccentric criminals who sound like the stuff of legend



5

“The barefoot bandit,” the hermit who stole planes

Here’s a typical start for a criminal. Absent father, drunk unemployed mother, constant visits to childcare facilities. If diagnosed with an intermittent explosives disorder (which isn’t as cool as it sounds) they drop out of high school and it is stolen. Is caught and sentenced to juvenile detention. But since childhood, Colton Harris-Moore was also used to venturing into the wilderness of Washington state. As soon as he ran halfway home, he decided that he would work full time.

Colton supported himself by breaking into people̵

7;s homes and initially only looking for food and bath. His police nickname was easily recognizable from the footprints he’d left barefoot, as the deceased teenager was now six feet five. It formed an image for him as a kind of Huck Finn, despite not only slipping into houses and stealing ice cream, but also getting on people’s computers and ordering expensive things online. Stuff like night vision goggles and premium bear maces – Colton failed to be a survivor. He once broke into a vet and left money to be used on the animals. Possibly he got the money from the time he robbed a bank in 2009.

Then he stole vehicles. He stole Fords and Cadillacs (in the end he wouldn’t be charged for that; we suspect he never got them very far). He stole a 34-foot boat and set sail for Oregon. And he stole planes – five different planes. He flew one of these during the Vancouver Olympics and after knocking it down he celebrated by breaking into an organic grocery store and leaving a chalk outline of his bare feet and a note that read “c yah”. You might wonder how this troubled boy ever got into flying lessons. He didn’t do it. Apparently he had taught himself Microsoft Flight Simulatorbut he wasn’t teaching himself too well because he crashed every single plane he’d stolen … and yet he walked off the rubble unscathed each time.

These planes are made from plywood and are designed to splinter upon impact.
Sir James / Wiki Commons
These planes are made from plywood and are designed to splinter upon impact.

The last time he’d stolen a plane, he’d moved from Washington to Indiana and flew the Cessna he’d wired all the way to the Bahamas. He landed it in the water around Great Abaco Island. He stole one boat, stole a second, more discreet boat, and made his way to a resort. A security guard spotted him and deactivated the boat, so he was still stealing Another Boat and went back into the water when the police were hunting in their own speedboats. They stopped him by shooting down his engine.




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