Washington teenager Colton Harris-Moore is living out a game of real-life Grand Theft Auto. Since his escape from a halfway house in 2007, the 18 year-old is suspected in about 50 burglary cases committed in a small island community outside of Seattle. His M.O. is to break into unoccupied houses, have a nap, steal some stuff and disappear into the woods. That's pretty small-time, sure, but recently, Harris-Moore has taken to stealing airplanes and boats.
The ne're-do-well boosts small planes from local airport hangars, joy-flies them for a bit, and crashes them into the woods. He has no flight training or experience. So far he's stolen three airplanes and commandeered two boats. Not bad for such a young guy! The picture to illustrate this story was reportedly taken by Colton with a stolen digital camera cops eventually found. How pimp is that?
Local police are at loose ends to deal with the guy: His crimes are apparently not serious enough to call for a massive manhunt and Harris-Moore seems very good at running and hiding, so he has thus far eluded 5-O. I'm guessing his wanted level in GTA is at about 3 stars, but heading rapidly towards 4. No one knows where he hides, but his mother believes he linked up with a group of other people who live in secret safe-houses with high-tech surveillance systems. I'm sure each safehouse features a save-point and a weapons cache.
Speaking of his mums, Pam Kohler, Harris-Moore's mother, told a reporter the following when asked about his son's plane-stealing habits: "I hope to hell he stole those airplanes — I would be so proud... But put in there that I want him to wear a parachute next time."
While glamorizing crime is pretty dumb and you should never, ever break the law, ever, it's hard not to pull for Harris -- as far as I know, he hasn't hurt anyone, and who doesn't daydream about the freedom that would come from living as a total outlaw? Local authorities are not amused, however. Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said, "He is an adult felon! I will not have him made into some kind of folk hero."
In spite of Sheriff Brown's wishes, Colton has become a folk hero. A facebook group highlights his outlaw antics, and locals even sell T-shirts emblazoned with his face and the legend "Momma Tried."
What do you think: Is Harris a hero or a jackass who got lucky?