Stolen Plane Victim Feels Sorry For "Barefoot Bandit"

John Miller has mixed emotions about 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore. The teen known as the "Barefoot Bandit" made off with Miller's Cessna Corvalis plane over the weekend. At first, Miller said he was angry, but after learning about Harris-Moore's difficult life, he said he feels sorry for him. (WXIN-TV FOX59 / July 7, 2010)

UPDATE: Bahamian authorities may or may not be closing in on Colton Harris-Moore.

"We want him caught. We want him off the island," said Silbert Mills, a reporter with Radio Abaco. Abaco is the Bahamian island where police think the notorious 'Barefoot Bandit' crashed the Cessna Corvalis he stole July 4th from the Monroe County airport.

"Police are working. They're dusting for fingerprints, FBI agents are on the island, and local police working closely with them," said Mills. "Other officers flew from the capital into Abaco to help work this case, dogs are being used from a canine unit."

Bahamian police assistant commissioner Glenn Miller told Fox59, "There have been sightings of the individual but nothing confirmed. We know a car was stolen and there have been several burglaries. We believe he is in the capital city of Marsh Harbor."

Police also believe they have video of Colton as he broke into the Curly Tails restaurant on Abaco.

"I gave a copy of the tape to police," said Alistair McDonald who owns the restaurant with his wife.  "You see the back of his head and his hair, he turned around looked at the camera and saw his face and then disabled the camera," said McDonald.

In the last month Harris-Moore has been moving fast. Following is a list of where police report Harris-Moore committed crimes including car thefts and burglaries.

Colton "On the the Lamb"

June 1st: Astoria, Oregon - stole boat and car
June 9th: McMinnville, Oregon - stole car
June 10th: Ontario, Oregon - stole car
June 18th: Yankton, South Dakota - stole car, reportedly broke into a house ate food and showered, homeowner caught him, Colton escaped
June 20th: Norfolk, Nebraska - Colton caught on surveillance tape, police say he stole another car and committed several burglaries including a restaurant and theft at                    an airport
June 24th: Dallas City, Illinois - police recover car believed to have been stolen by Colton
End of June: Danville, Illinois - police report Colton stole car he then drove to Bloomington, Indiana
July 4th: Colton believed to have stolen Cessna Corvalis from Monroe County Airport crashed off coast of Abaco
July 5-7th: Search for Colton Harris-Moore Continues in Bahamas. Includes FBI and Bahamian Police

John Miller has mixed emotions about 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore. The teen known as the "Barefoot Bandit" made off with Miller's Cessna Corvalis plane over the weekend.

"The plane would sit right here," said Miller as he walked through his hanger that no longer houses his prized plane.

"You can see his marks here," said Miller as he showed scratches where someone pried open the backdoor to the hangar over the weekend. "The barefoot bandit definitely used this to tug the airplane out."

Miller notes the red tug bar was actually placed upright in the corner and the hangar door closed after the plane was stolen.

"It wasn't like he just tossed things and left he actually closed the hangar door and put up the tug bar in the corner," said Miller.

The pilot who owns a beer distributorship in Bloomington got a call from the U.S. Coast Guard Sunday around noon.

"I saw a number come in I didn't recognize. I was hitting some golf balls and didn't pick it up. When I checked my messages it was from Miami. The officer asked could you verify where your airplane is. The ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) has gone off."

Miller went to check the hangar and found his plane was gone.

"No airplane, I about died. Initially, I was mad. I'm thinking I can't believe some knothead stole my airplane."

Friends told Miller to google Barefoot Bandit.

"And up pops this little baby face of a young kid that looks like he's 12-years-old."

Miller said he started to soften up. He read Colt had had a hard life, with an alcoholic mother and father. He remains angry but also wonders how the kid pulled it off.

"For him to go that far he would have to know something about fuel management. He had enough knowledge to manage the fuel mixture to allow him to get that far to the Bahamas."

Miller also told the Federal prosecutor working the case his Cessna has a special avianics package.

"He said that's why he targeted his airplane, that's what  he prefers."

The bandit reportedly has learned on a computer simulator. This is the fifth plane he's stolen and crashed.

"The plane has good safety equipment and special crash seats, the fact he survived shows how safe the plane is."

Miller is in close touch with Bahamian authorities who tell him Colt has been spotted on the island of Abaco.

"But he could have stolen a boat by now," said Miller.

The hunt for the teen continues.


The owner of a plane police think was stolen by the so-called "Barefoot Bandit" said he hopes the 19-year-old doesn't get hurt.

Colton Harris-Moore is considered an aviation folk hero, but in the eyes of the law, he's a fugitive. The notorious legend's latest victim said he's taking the news in stride.

"I guess if I had to make a bet, I'd almost bet on the boy, (laughs)."

John Miller said there's nothing he can do now that his plane was found crashed in the waters off the Andros Islands in the Bahamas. Luckily for the Bloomington beer distributor, the $600,000 660G CESSNA 400 CORVALIS was insured.

"I'm going to lose money, but what the hell can I do? I'm not cryin' about it," he said.

Miller didn't even know his plane was stolen from the Bloomington airport until the Coast Guard called Sunday afternoon to tell him they picked up an emergency signal from the plane.

Investigators now think Colton Harris-Moore snagged the plane sometime between 9:30 Saturday night and 6:30 Sunday morning when the control tower wasn't staffed.

Miller said he left the keys in the plane so a mechanic could change the oil. That mechanic told Miller, when he was done, he put the Cessna, full of fuel, back in its hanger, then put a pad lock on the sliding door.

Miller thinks Harris-Moore was at the airport, watching the activity, so he knew exactly which plane to take.

"I just say, the boy had good taste. It's a hell of a lot better than the rest of the airplanes around there," Miller laughed.

The plane, he said, with all its modern safety equipment was built to withstand a hard landing.

"I know this from the Bohemian Police: He is alive and on the go. I don't want him to steal anyone else's but I don't want him to be hurt either."

A bounty hunter who had been on the search for Harris-Moore said the 19-year-old is smart to go to the Bahamas, hide out and wait for the statute of limitations to expire on his crimes.


19-year-old Colton Harris Moore, a.k.a. the "Barefoot Bandit," may have pulled off his latest high flying theft at the Monroe County Airport.

The owner of a plane police think was stolen by the Barefoot Bandit says, "First, I was mad. Then I read about this kid. Hell, I don't want him to get hurt. I hope he makes it."

John Miller's $600,000 Cessna was stolen sometime between 9:30 Saturday night and 6:30 Sunday morning from the Bloomington Airport. It was found crashed in the water off the Bahamas Sunday afternoon.

Colton Harris-Moore, 19, is considered an aviation folk hero, but in the eyes of the law he's a fugitive. Investigators have linked him to more than 100 burglaries across the nation since April 2008.

Some of the items he's accused of stealing include cars, bicycles, speedboats and other airplanes. There was no sign of the pilot among the wreckage. Police report an SUV had been stolen near the crash site.

"The MO and the details of this fit that of what everyone calls the Barefoot Bandit," said Bruce Payton, airport manager.

Moore is considered an aviation folk hero, but in the eyes of the law he's a fugitive from justice. The plane was flown from Bloomington and crashed near the Bahamas with no sign of the pilot.

"The sheriff's department had located a car stolen and found it not far from the Monroe County Airport," said Payton.

The car is believed to have been stolen by Moore from Illinois and possibly stolen from an airport.

"It was a creme-colored sedan," said Charles Sater who lives across from the church where the car was found abandoned two Sundays ago.

"The passenger side window was down, there was a purse inside and also a change purse," said Wayne Hanson a member of the church.

"They said it was from Illinois but stolen from Midland, Ohio I believe," said Hanson.

A Monroe County Sheriff's detective notified airport management they thought the "bandit" may be looking to steal a plane. They told them to notify plane owners and operators.

"Everything that was done we did," said Bruce Payton, airport manager. Payton handed out fliers for much of the day Wednesday when he learned police suspected Moore was in town. He also said he notified what are called the fixed base operators BMG aviation and Cook aviation and asked them to notify renters of the airport's hangars.

John Miller of Bloomington owns the stolen plane. He was never notified and is reportedly angry at airport management they didn't try to alert everyone who keeps a plane at the airport. The thief broke into a side door of the hangar and managed to fly the plane out of the airport in the dark of night.

Moore is a survivalist. He is also known to break into homes for food. He was nicknamed the barefoot bandit because he has been known to pull off his thefts in bare feet.

"Rolling Stone" Magazine recently did a piece on Moore. Moore has made a huge name for himself among aviation followers who have followed his plane thefts for years.