IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Stolen plane fits elusive 'Barefoot Bandit' mold

Police are hunting across a tourist island for signs of a pilot who vanished after wrecking a small plane in the Bahamas and investigators in the U.S. turned their suspicions toward an American teenager dubbed "the Barefoot Bandit."
/ Source: KING5

SEATTLE -- Police were hunting across a Bahamas island Tuesday for signs of a pilot who vanished after wrecking a small plane in the Bahamas - and U.S. investigators turned their suspicions toward an American teenager on the run dubbed the "Barefoot Bandit."

Bruce Payton, manager of the Monroe County Airport in Bloomington, Indiana, said he was told last week a stolen vehicle recovered in the area fit the pattern of Harris-Moore.

The sheriff's department asked airport officials to alert businesses in the area to keep an eye out for Harris-Moore, and information of his description was circulated.

On Sunday, Payton was notified a 2009 Model Cessna 400 had been stolen from a locked hangar at the airport and was found off the shores of one of the islands in the Bahamas. It appeared the plane had crash-landed, U.S. Coast Guard officials told The Herald-Times in Indiana.

Payton said in order for Harris-Moore to get to the locked hangar, Harris-Moore had to go through coded access gates and a 10-ft. high fence with barbed wire. The hangar door was pried open, said Payton. Since the hanger has no surveillance cameras, no video or pictures were taken of the theft.

The flight from central Indiana to the Bahamas is about 1,200 miles.

Harris-Moore, 19, has been on the run since April 2008, when he escaped from a group home south of Seattle. He has been suspected of breaking into dozens of homes and business in Washington, British Columbia and Idaho. Police believe he's stolen numerous cars, power boats and at least three small airplanes.

Harris-Moore often leaves bare footprints behind at the scene of the crime. Most recently, police have evidence the teen fugitive was in Oregon and South Dakota.

An FBI statement posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Nassau said Harris-Moore may have recent injuries and urged anyone who sees him to contact the nearest Bahamas police station. It said the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

A team of detectives in this island chain off the Florida coast traveled from Nassau, the capital, on Tuesday to join the investigation and aid the search for the pilot in Abaco, police Sgt. Chrislyn Skippings said. She said authorities had not confirmed the plane was the same aircraft stolen from Indiana.