Photo: Colton Harris-Moore.
Chalk-outline feet drawn all over a burgled grocery store...
These are among the apparent trademarks of Washington's infamous teenage "barefoot burglar" Colton Harris-Moore, say police. Is American's most wanted – loved by some - lanky 18-year-old burglar back in action?
Authorities across western Washington State have been hoping to catch the alleged bandit since he escaped from a halfway house in April 2008.
Photo: Colton Harris-Moore.
Since then, he's suspected in scores of burglaries, many of them near his home on Camano Island and in the San Juan Islands north of Seattle. Investigators believe he more recently turned to joyriding in airplanes.
Surveillance video of some of the burglaries showed the culprit barefoot — hence the moniker.
Harris-Moore's legend has only grown since last fall, with a Facebook page now boasting 16,800 fans and a Time magazine piece dubbing him "America's Most Wanted Teen Bandit."
Sherri Pierson, a bookkeeper at Homegrown Market on Orcas Island, told The Associated Press someone broke into the store Wednesday night, and its owner arrived Thursday to find large chalk-outline feet drawn all over the floor. Cash was taken — Pierson wouldn't say how much — and a security system monitor was left in a sink with water running over it.
Two of the footprints were leading out the door, next to a chalk-scrawled message: "C-YA!" Pierson said that if the perpetrator wasn't Harris-Moore, who is suspected in a spate of burglaries in the same neighborhood last fall, it was clearly someone impersonating him.
San Juan County sheriff's officials are also investigating a plane from Skagit County that was left at the airport on Orcas Island on Wednesday or Thursday.
Last fall, after a stolen small plane crash-landed at the airport, Harris-Moore was allegedly caught on surveillance video breaking into a grocery store. A hardware store, bar, coffee-shop and bank were also hit at that time.
A few weeks later, a Cessna was stolen from a rural airport in Idaho and crash-landed near Granite Falls, Wash., when it ran out of fuel on what may have been a course back toward Camano Island.
In the airport hangar in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, the plane's owner found actual, rather than chalk, bare footprints, including some on a wall. The culprit had apparently put his feet up while eating.
"There's no verification that it's the same guy, but it sure feels like it," said Orcas Chamber of Commerce director Lance Evans, who e-mailed his members urging them to take precautions.
MORE ON CRIMESIDER
October 8, 2009 - Colton Harris Moore's DNA Found At Crime Scene (Photos)
October 8, 2009 - Colton Harris-Moore Facebook Fans Romanticize Elusive Island Criminal
October 7, 2009 - Colton Harris-Moore: "Catch Me If You Can" Teen Eludes Detectives