Video: ‘Barefoot Bandit’ extradited back to the U.S.

  1. Transcript of: ‘Barefoot Bandit’ extradited back to the U.S.

    MATT LAUER, co-host: The alleged "Barefoot Bandit," 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore , appears in a Miami courtroom today after he was deported to the US on Tuesday following that high-speed boat chase and arrest in the Bahamas . NBC 's Peter Alexander 's in Miami with the latest on this story. Peter , good morning.

    PETER ALEXANDER reporting: Matt , good morning to you. This morning, Colton Harris-Moore is right there in Miami at the federal detention center . It's just less than 24 hours after Bahamian authorities paraded him into court in the Bahamas . We were inside that courtroom at the time when Harris-Moore pleaded guilty, calmly, to just a single minor offense. But here in the US he could face much more serious charges. Under heavy security, Colton Harris-Moore arrived back here Tuesday night capping a long day that began in the Bahamas , with the suspect marched to a Nassau court wearing clean high-topped shoes without laces, a Bahamas T -shirt and a fresh coat of mosquito bites. Inside this courtroom, the 19-year-old fugitive, who Bahamian police say could have faced several charges, including illegal possession of a weapon, was surprisingly only charged with one minor offense, for illegally landing this stolen plane in the Caribbean nation July 4th . Harris-Moore , who had eluded authorities for two years since vanishing from a halfway house in Washington state , was respectful and expressionless only, repeating the word "guilty" twice when asked for his plea. Harris - Moore 's Bahamian attorney, Monique

    Gomez: He's wanting to get it over with. That's basically it.

    Ms. MONIQUE GOMEZ: His sentence: a $300 fine and an immediate deportation or three months in a Bahamian prison. The US Embassy paid that fine, and less than four hours later Harris-Moore was on a flight back to the US. This is where his custody could get complicated, with Harris-Moore accused of dozens of crimes across at least eight states, allegedly stealing cash, cars and five planes that investigators say he taught himself to fly.

    ALEXANDER: A lot of states want the guy, and it's in a sense going to be a battle. And probably the state that wins or the federal jurisdiction that gets first dibs will be the one where he committed the most crimes or committed the most harm.

    Ms. WENDY MURPHY (Former Prosecutor): The FBI says Harris-Moore will likely be returned to his home state of Washington where he allegedly preyed on neighbors for years after a troubled childhood. The Herald newspaper in Washington State reports that court documents say Harris-Moore told a psychiatrist in 2008 that his mother was abusive when she'd been drinking. Colton , is there a message for your mom? After his deportation for the Bahamas , many of Harris-Moore 's victims hope he faces justice. But at least one relative says what he really needs is help. And the so-called Barefoot Bandit 's capture in the Bahamas was significant for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it got him back here to the United States . His attorney there, Matt , said that what he wants is not media attention, it's to go home.

    ALEXANDER:

By
updated 7/14/2010 9:53:44 AM ET 2010-07-14T13:53:44

The teenager who authorities call the "Barefoot Bandit" was set to face an initial court appearance in Miami Wednesday, after he was deported from the Bahamas.

It's likely Colton Harris-Moore will eventually be taken to Seattle, where he was indicted.

Law enforcement officials escorted Harris-Moore on a commercial flight to Miami Tuesday to face prosecution for a two-year string of break-ins and plane thefts across the United States. The FBI took him off the plane and put him into a waiting car.

The 19-year-old convict was deported to the United States, just hours after he pleaded guilty to a minor offense in the Bahamas, where he was arrested over the weekend.

Harris-Moore was on the plane with Bahamian authorities as well as FBI agents, but he did not know FBI agents were aboard, said John Gillies, FBI special agent in charge of the Miami office. The FBI did not have any authority to arrest Harris-Moore in the Bahamas and waited until he reached Miami to take him into custody, Gillies said.

Wants to go home
Earlier Tuesday, Harris-Moore pleaded guilty in the Bahamas to illegally entering the country. He had been arrested in the island country Sunday following a high-speed boat chase.

The charge stemming from his alleged crash of a stolen plane on Great Abaco Island carried a $300 fine. His lawyer, Monique Gomez, said the U.S. Embassy would pay it. Gomez said Harris-Moore wanted to go home.

The shackled teen smiled after the judge read the sentence. Bahamian police had earlier said he would face other charges including illegal weapons possession related to a string of break-ins and thefts during his weeklong hideout in the country.

Image: Colton Harris-Moore
Tim Aylen  /  AP
Colton Harris-Moore, the teenage fugitive police have dubbed the "Barefoot Bandit," is escorted to court in Nassau, Bahamas.

Harris-Moore wore white sneakers without laces and kept his head down as armed officers escorted him to the courthouse. A police commando unit stood by as authorities put up street barricades ahead of the hearing for the high-profile suspect.

Authorities say he earned the "Barefoot Bandit" nickname by committing some crimes while shoeless, and in February he allegedly drew chalk-outline feet all over the floor of a grocery store during a burglary in Washington's San Juan Islands.

Harris-Moore is suspected in about 70 property crimes across eight states and British Columbia, many of them in the bucolic islands of Washington state. He is accused of stealing a plane from an Indiana airport to fly to the Bahamas.

Mom seems relieved
His mother, Pam Kohler, seemed relieved.

"I'm really tired," Kohler said from her home on Camano Island, Washington. "Yes, I look forward to seeing him."

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Asked what she planned to say to her son when she saw him, she said angrily, "What kind of question is that?" and hung up the phone.

His arrest came as a relief to people across rural Camano Island, where authorities say he learned to dodge police.

"There's a lot of relief throughout the community," real estate agent Mark Williams said. "I think the man's luck just wore out. You run through the woods long enough, you're going to trip over a log."

Harris-Moore told police in the Bahamas he came to the country, located off the Florida coast, because it has so many islands, airports and docks, according to an officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

The teenager claimed he told islanders he was trying to get to Cuba so he could throw police off his trail, but he intended to make his way to the Turks and Caicos Islands southeast of the Bahamas, the officer said.

The suspect learned from the Internet that the British territory has a small police force and no marine defense force, according to the officer.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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