The Barefoot Bandit has more than 80,000 Facebook fans who see him as a folk hero, a modern-day Jesse James. But police say Colton Harris-Moore is a brazen 19-year-old criminal, pure and simple.
The beginning and end of Harris-Moore's two-year run as a wanted fugitive is the stuff of Hollywood. Indeed, one studio has optioned his story. But police and some of his victims don't think he should be glamorized as he makes his first court appearance Tuesday.
"They can never imprison a mind like yours Colton," wrote one admirer on Harris-Moore's Facebook fan page Monday, a day after he was captured during a high-speed boat chase in the Bahamas.
"I can understand on one level people being interested in his activities, but I think most thoughtful people, when they stop and think about it, realize he's a common criminal," said Bill Cummings, a sheriff who has been tracking Harris-Moore for years. "Those who see him as a folk hero aren't looking any deeper than the surface."
The strapping 6-foot, 5-inch high school dropout was raised by a single mother in a trailer on Camano Island off the rugged coast of Washington state.
Local media accounts, including a detailed profile in Monday's edition of The Herald in Everett, Washington, cite court records that tell the story of a turbulent childhood.
When Harris-Moore was a boy, his classmates called him "Klepto Colt," wrote journalist Bob Friel, who lives on nearby Orcas Island. Friel's lengthy profile was published in Outside magazine in January.