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Another senior police official, however, said that police fired shots to disable the motor on the suspect’s stolen boat and that Harris-Moore threw his gun in the water. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case, also said that police recovered a laptop and a GPS locator from the suspect.
Police flew Harris-Moore in shackles to Nassau. True to the nickname, the teen with close-shorn hair was shoeless as he walked off the plane wearing short camouflage cargo pants, a short-sleeved shirt and a bulletproof vest.
Harris-Moore is blamed for several thefts in the Bahamas in the week since allegedly crash-landing a stolen plane there.
The 6-foot-5-inch Harris-Moore had been on the run since escaping from a Washington state halfway house in 2008. He is accused of breaking into dozens of homes and committing burglaries across Washington, as well as in British Columbia and Idaho.
He is also suspected of stealing at least five planes, including the aircraft he allegedly lifted in Indiana and flew more than 1,000 miles to the Bahamas, despite a lack of formal flight training.
Some of the actions appeared intended to taunt police: In February, someone who broke into a grocery store in Washington’s San Juan Islands drew cartoonish, chalk-outline feet all over the floor.
Through it all, his ranks of supporters grew. Some of his more than 60,000 Facebook fans posted disappointed messages Sunday, while others promoted T-shirts and tote bags with the words “Free Colton!” and “Let Colton Fly!”
Even some in the Bahamas had mixed feelings about his arrest.
“I feel like it would have been good if he got away because he never hurt anybody, but then he was running from the law,” said Ruthie Key, who owns a market on Great Abaco Island and let Harris-Moore use her wireless Internet connection July 5.
“He seemed very innocent when I spoke with him at the store. I don’t think he’d hurt anybody,” Ms. Key said.
Island police had been searching for the teen since he allegedly crash-landed the plane on Abaco, where he was blamed for at least seven burglaries. The search expanded to Eleuthera after police there recovered a 44-foot powerboat reported stolen from Abaco.
Victims of the crimes Harris-Moore is accused of were happy to see him in custody.
“These people that support him, they’ve never been violated by having him break into their homes or businesses,” said Joni Fowler, manager of a cafe on Orcas Island north of Seattle where Harris-Moore is accused of taking as much as $1,500. “Just knowing he has a huge network of supporters makes me really worry about the state of this country.”
Ms. Fowler said she hopes Harris-Moore’s arrest and upcoming court appearances will deflate his mystique and fame, “once everybody figures out he’s no god.”
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