Nebraska Police Now Trying To Catch 'Barefoot Bandit' Colton Harris-Moore

Colton Harris-Moore

Authorities say they believe a suspected teenage burglar from Washington known for daring exploits to evade capture is moving eastward.

Norfolk, Neb., police have issued a warrant for 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore following a June 19 break-in at a municipalairport office. Police say an SUV was stolen from the airport that day.

It later turned up nearly 240 miles away in Iowa. Norfolk detectives sent the airport surveillance video to the FBI's Seattle office and the Island County Sheriff's Department.

An affidavit accompanying the Nebraska warrant says detectives in the Island County office "are 85-90 percent sure" surveillance footage caught on airport cameras show Harris-Moore.

Police in Warrenton, Oregon also say they've gathered fingerprints off a stolen boat from June 1st that matches Colton Harris-Moore's.

Not long after that in Yankton, South Dakota, police think Harris-Moore bared his butt during a home burglary.

Homeowner Kelley Kneifl says police believe Harris-Moore was the person he chased out of his home very early last Friday. But all Kneifl saw was the burglar's knees, elbows, and bare butt.

The "Barefoot Bandit" is known for his knack to elude authorities, and has gained a cult-like following, with a movie possibly in the works about his exploits. The teenager is accused of burglarizing homes and stealing planes across the Northwest. But the Midwest couldn't have been prepared for this.

"He was butt-naked as he ran away from me in the house," says Kneifl, "I could not positively identify him, I have seen the pictures of him online, and the police brought me a mugshot as well, I couldn't identify him."

Still, police say a spree of crimes in the small South Dakota town of Yankton bear the bandit's mark.

One burglary was at an airport, and several homes were almost broken into, before someone got into the Kneifl's.

Inside there, police found clothes in the washer, a pizza still baking in the oven, and a pile of stuff in front of the television. Nothing other than food was stolen.

"I figure he had probably been in the house about a day," says Kneifl.

Police will not confirm that it's Colton Harris-Moore, but they did get a lot of evidence that will point them towards someone.

For instance, whoever broke into the Kneifl's also left behind dark hair clippings all over the bathroom.

Police recovered a stolen car with Washington plates, and after searching for an SUV stolen from Yankton, found it abandoned down in Nebraska.

Just down the road from where the car was abandoned, the robber struck again at the Norfolk Airport. A 2008 Cadillac Escalade was taken and ditched in Iowa early Monday morning.

In Washington, Colton Harris-Moore is accused of burglarizing dozens of homes, mainly in the Camano Island area, as well as stealing boats, cars and planes.

He was most recently suspected in a string of burglaries after a boat was stolen and dumped in a small Northwest Oregon town.

This Midwest search comes just days after police in Raymond, Washington confirmed a note left at a vet clinic along with $100 donation last month was written by Harris-Moore.

He's been on the run since early 2008, when he escaped from a group home near Seattle.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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