United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
CAMANO ISLAND MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MULTI-STATE CRIME SPREE
Colton Harris-Moore Pleads Guilty and Forfeits Any Proceeds From His Story
COLTON HARRIS-MOORE, 20, of Camano Island, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to seven charges in connection with his lengthy crime spree in the Pacific Northwest and across the United States to Indiana, ending in the Bahamas. HARRIS-MOORE pleaded guilty to bank burglary, two counts of interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft, interstate and foreign transportation of a stolen firearm, being a fugitive in possession of a firearm, piloting an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate, and interstate transportation of a stolen vessel. HARRIS-MOORE remains in custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington. He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 28, 2011. Under the terms of the plea agreement, both sides will recommend between 63 and 78 months in prison. However, Judge Richard A. Jones is not bound by the recommendations, and may sentence HARRIS-MOORE up to the maximum allowed by law.
“The many years of Mr. Harris-Moore avoiding responsibility for his criminal conduct have come to an end,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “We have ensured he will not profit from his crimes, and that his victims will be compensated to the greatest extent possible. While we cannot stop him from telling his story, we can make sure he never sees a dime for his crimes.”
Under the terms of the plea agreement, HARRIS-MOORE forfeits any financial gain from telling his story and the proceeds are to be used to compensate the victims of his crimes. A special master experienced in intellectual property rights is appointed to ensure fair dealing and that all proceeds go to the victims. HARRIS-MOORE is expected to enter pleas to state charges in Washington State Superior Court. County prosecutors will be working to schedule a date for HARRIS-MOORE to enter pleas to all the state charges.
The federal plea agreement details a number of crimes including multiple car thefts and burglaries – including one where HARRIS-MOORE confronted and threatened to harm a homeowner.
“This resolution would not be possible without the remarkable efforts of law enforcement and prosecutors from numerous counties in Washington and other states,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
The first charged criminal act in the plea agreement is the September 5, 2009, burglary of Islanders Bank in Eastsound, Washington. HARRIS-MOORE admits he attempted to break into the ATM and night deposit box at the bank, using tools he had stolen from the Ace Hardware store in Eastsound. He did more than $1,000 in damage.
Following the bank burglary, HARRIS-MOORE traveled to Creston, British Columbia, Canada. He stole a .32 caliber pistol and traveled with it for the next week. He crossed back into the U.S., and on September 29, 2009, HARRIS-MOORE stole a Cessna aircraft from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and flew the plane to a location near Granite Falls, Washington, where it crashed. HARRIS-MOORE also admits he stole a second firearm, a .22 caliber pistol, during a burglary near Granite Falls, Washington. HARRIS-MOORE carried that pistol with him to his hiding place in the Eastsound Airport on Orcas Island, Washington.
HARRIS-MOORE admits that on February 10, 2010, he piloted an aircraft without an airman’s certificate during a flight he made in a stolen plane from Anacortes to Eastsound, Washington. He admits that on May 31, 2010, he stole a 34 foot boat, and traveled from Ilwaco, Washington, to Warrenton, Oregon.
The statement of facts in the plea agreement goes on to recount HARRIS-MOORE’s series of thefts and burglaries across the U.S.: multiple car thefts in Idaho and Wyoming; burglaries, thefts and auto thefts in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Indiana, including multiple burglaries at small airports. In Yankton County, South Dakota, HARRIS-MOORE threatened a homeowner after breaking into a residence. Finally, on July 4, 2010, HARRIS-MOORE stole his last aircraft from a hangar in Bloomington, Indiana. He crash landed the aircraft when it ran out of fuel on Abaco Island in the Bahamas. He was arrested in the Bahamas a few days later.
HARRIS-MOORE agrees in the plea agreement that the amount of loss caused to the victims by his crimes is at least $1,409,438.
“The FBI is pleased to see Harris-Moore accept responsibility for the significant financial losses he caused in a number of states during a crime spree that consumed substantial investigative resources from state, local and federal law enforcement agencies,” said Laura Laughlin, Special Agent in Charge of FBI, Seattle. “The FBI appreciates the skillful work by our partners, as well as the invaluable assistance of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. If it weren’t for this coordinated effort, and the tips and assistance of private citizens, Harris-Moore might still be at large. I hope this case demonstrates to the public the important contribution they can have in bringing criminals to justice.”
The FBI is the lead federal agency investigating the case. The FBI was assisted by the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, as well as numerous state and local law enforcement agencies from across the country. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Darwin Roberts, Mike Dion and Richard E. Cohen. Attorneys with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana assisted with the case. County Prosecutors Greg Banks (Island County), Randy Gaylord (San Juan County), Richard Weyrich (Skagit County) and Mark Roe (Snohomish County) have provided remarkable resources and assistance.