“Barefoot Bandit” faces new charges after two-year crime spree

Before his arrest in 2010, Colton Harris-Moore, better known as the "Barefoot Bandit," held a gun to his head and threatening to take his own life rather than be brought in to face the charges against him. Currently serving a seven-year prison sentence six-and-a-half year prison sentence on a variety of federal charges, Harris-Moore, like most people facing criminal charges, feared going to jail more than anything else.

Bandit's crime spree took him as far as the Bahamas

Police spent two years trying to catch the Harris-Moore, who broke into numerous businesses and vacation homes throughout the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. and Canada. His notorious crime spree included the theft of boats, cars and airplanes and ended with a police standoff in the Bahamas. Ultimately, pleading guilty to all counts against him, he earned his nickname after committing several of his crimes barefoot.

Harris-Moore, who is only 21 years old, now faces new theft charges in Washington State. While he previously pled guilty to all federal and state charges filed against him, a local prosecutor refused to accept the plea agreement -characterizing Harris-Moore as arrogant and boastful about his crimes - and decided to file new state charges against him for his theft of an airplane from a Washington couple.

Securing a theft conviction requires proving intent, which is frequently challenging

Although most cases of theft, which is a comprehensive term that also covers such crimes as larceny and embezzlement, are not as extravagant as the Barefoot Bandit's, theft charges may still result in serious consequences.

Theft is generally defined as taking property from someone without their consent. Intent is a key element of theft. Simply depriving someone of property without their permission is not enough to prove theft; a person must specifically intend to take the property. Proving intent is often extremely difficult for the prosecution, since a person might innocently take someone else's property, believing they had permission. A person may also take property, intending to return it at some point. In this situation, there is no specific intent to permanently deprive the victim of his or her property, and theft cannot be proven.

Criminal convictions result in severe consequences

There are different degrees of theft, depending on the property's value. Petty theft is a misdemeanor and occurs when an individual steals property below a certain value. Any property stolen above this value is grand theft and considered a felony.

Along with potential jail time, a criminal conviction comes with severe consequences that impact the rest of an individual's life. For instance, certain convictions may affect the right to vote, drive a car or own a firearm.

Anyone facing criminal charges, such as theft, should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can provide a clear explanation of the charge, put the broader consequences of the situation in perspective, aggressively protect his client's rights and pursue the best possible outcome for the case.

Abstract

Already convicted of stealing boats, cars and planes, Colton Harris-Moore, also known as the "Barefoot Bandit," is facing new theft charges. Theft is intentionally and permanently depriving another individual of property without consent, and a theft conviction can result in severe penalties.