Have You Seen the Barefoot Bandit?

07/09/2010 at 09:45 AM EDT

Have You Seen the Barefoot Bandit?
Colton Harris-Moore, the "Barefoot Bandit"
AP
He's an accused serial burglar, an escapee from a halfway house for young criminals, the subject of a future movie for 20th Century Fox – and the target of an intense international manhunt.

Oh, and he's also an Internet sensation with more than 20,000 Facebook fans.

Boyish-looking Colton Harris-Moore, 19, has become a Robin Hood figure for thousands, dubbed the Barefoot Bandit because he supposedly committed many of his crimes without the benefit of footwear. Right now, he's on the run after a crime spree that began in April 2008 and took him from the state of Washington to a sleepy island in the Bahamas.

The saga began after Harris-Moore, who'd had a troubled childhood on Camano Island, Wash., broke out of the halfway house where he'd been staying after an early release from a three-year sentence. He is accused of burglarizing homes for food, money and credit cards – often without shoes on. Sometimes he left signature bare-foot signs or donations for animal charities at the scenes of his alleged crimes.



Flies Away

In November 2008, he upped the ante, and began stealing a series of small aircraft to escape a total of 1,200 miles from Washington to Idaho to Indiana to the Bahamas. Harris-Moore, who apparently taught himself how to fly along the way, crash-landed the planes each time.

Meanwhile, his notoriety grew. The FBI FBI put up a $10,000 reward for his capture, and T-shirts proclaiming "Fly, Colton, Fly" began popping up in Seattle. Someone started a Facebook fan page that grows day by day. And it didn't hurt that he also could pass for a taller version of Justin Bieber.

Now the Bahamian police are searching for him on Abaco Island, where it's believed he's been living in the woods, surviving on food and money he steals from empty store and vacation homes by night. The island, where people once left their doors unlocked, has become the victim of a one-man crime wave thanks to the Internet celebrity.

But whether this unlikely folk hero's story will end happily or grimly remains to be seen.

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