NEW YORK -- Colton Harris Moore, the Washington state teenager who gained international notoriety as the "Barefoot Bandit," appears to have resurfaced with a personal website and blog that delves into his dislike of the media, his reasons for stealing planes, and why he accepted more than $1 million from 20th Century Fox for rights to his life story, a decision the writer of the blog says he now regrets.
Harris Moore, now 24 years old, continues to serve prison time in Washington for crimes related to his cross-country theft of five single-engine places. In 2012, he was sentenced to 6 ½ years and is scheduled to be released to a halfway house next March, according to his lawyer John Henry Browne.
The authenticity of the website and blog, which surfaced in late November, could not be independently verified although Browne and others associated with the so-called "Barefoot Bandit" believe it is genuine. The home page features a plane in the air and boldly asserts: "Anything is possible."
News of the blog came via an email sent by "Nathalie P" who states everything in it was written by Harris Moore, who sent letters from prison.
"Nathalie P" also provided her own Q & A:
Q. But but but - he's boastful!
A. He's spirited.
Q. Who are you? How do you know Colton?
A. I am a close friend. We go way back.
Indeed, an email address in the blog's registry is known to belong to a Good Samaritan who tried to help Harris Moore when he was a young teen. The website is named "Socata" after the single-engine turboprop plane, the kind favored by Harris Moore.
The writing on the blog is filled with anger at how the media has, the writer says, usurped Harris Moore's story without his permission.
"...here I am, watching every day of the past ten years in horrified and outraged awe, this fiasco-spectacle people created for their own entertainment.
Many people do not know this or choose to not believe me, when I say that if it was up to me, no one would know who I am. What's more, if it were up to me, people would quit living in the past. The reality is, however, that people DO [sic] know who I am, and people will live in the past as long as that's the only story out there.
The days of people speaking for me and telling a story which is not theirs to tell are over."
In 2010, at the height of his notoriety, Harris Moore stole a plane from Indiana and crash-landed it in the waters around the Bahamas. It was the fifth plane he had stolen. His landings were bumpy and often did severe damage to the planes but Harris Moore always walked away.
The blog writer offers an explanation: "I stole airplanes because I belong in the sky. My element is flight. I risked my life to feel that and I would do it again--but the next airplane I am in will be the one I am training in. The next one after that will the first airplane I own--hopefully a nice turboprop."
While in prison, Harris Moore has been mentored by a former Boeing engineer.
Back in 2010, Harris Moore's legend grew after newspaper and magazine writers delved into his history and discovered he was a disadvantaged teenager from Camano Island, Wash., a high-school dropout who taught himself how to fly sophisticated planes. At one time, Harris Moore had tens of thousands of online fans with t-shirts that read "Fly Colton Fly."
He earned the nickname "Barefoot Bandit" by committing some crimes while barefoot. Harris Moore himself paid homage to the nickname by painting large footprints on the floor of a grocery store he robbed on Orcas Island, Wash.
As part of Harris Moore's prison sentence, he was required to pay back victims of his crimes. It was then that one of his lawyers entered into an agreement with 20th Century Fox to sell the youngster's life story for $1.3 million. Recently, Fox honored that agreement by cutting a check for most of it -- $900,000 -- and sending it to the U.S. Marshals, who will distribute it to Harris Moore's victims.
In the online blog, the writer says he never would have entered into that agreement if he had known the movie was going to be based on "The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris Moore, New American Outlaw" by Bob Friel.
"Had I known at the time that an author had invaded my project and managed to shoehorn his illegitimate book into forming the base of any future movie about me, then clearly I wouldn't have signed the contract," the blogger writes. "Simple."
"No one wanted me to know what was really going on with this extraneous book because I would have blown the deal out of the water without thinking twice."
The movie appears to be moving ahead in the production process; a script based on Harris Moore's story was written by Lance Black, who won an Oscar for his screenplay "Milk."