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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Feb. 29, 2024

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Hollywood covers ‘Barefoot Bandit’ debt

20th Century Fox pays his restitution, gets rights to his story in exchange

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Chalk &quot;feet&quot; were found Feb. 11, 2010, in the Homegrown Market on Orcas Island after an overnight break-in by Colton Harris-Moore.
Chalk "feet" were found Feb. 11, 2010, in the Homegrown Market on Orcas Island after an overnight break-in by Colton Harris-Moore. (Islands' Sounder files) Photo Gallery

SEATTLE — A Hollywood studio has paid more than $1 million to settle the “Barefoot Bandit’s” court-ordered restitution in exchange for the rights to his story.

The studio, 20th Century Fox, wrote a check to the U.S. Marshal’s office earlier this month. It was the final payment toward Colton Harris-Moore’s restitution, The Seattle Times reported.

The “Barefoot Bandit’s” life on the run is now headed toward the big screen. The money mostly paid for three small airplanes he stole and crash-landed and a boat he hijacked in the Bahamas while evading capture.

Harris-Moore was sentenced to 6½ years in federal prison in 2012 for the theft of the airplanes, a boat and guns during a crime spree that began when he escaped from a Renton juvenile halfway house in 2008.

A book and a documentary of his exploits already have been released.

The Internet made Harris-Moore a cult hero and, at one time, he had nearly 50,000 followers on his Facebook page, where he would occasionally leave a post written on a stolen laptop.

He eluded a massive manhunt, while police warned that he was dangerous.

Harris-Moore said he taught himself how to fly using flight manuals and a computer flight simulator, according to court documents.

While he was able to get the planes off the ground and pilot them, sometimes in bad weather, he had a tougher time with the landings. Harris-Moore crashed all three of them, acknowledging in defense documents that he very nearly died in a September 2009 crash of a stolen Cessna that went down near Granite Falls in Snohomish County.

During his 2012 sentencing before U.S. District Judge Richard Jones, Harris-Moore said his dream of flying was the only thing that saved him from the nightmare of a childhood of neglect at the hands of an abusive alcoholic mother. He said some of the burglaries he committed were done to steal food so he wouldn’t starve.

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