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Police: 'Barefoot Bandit' enters heartland

By Gabriel Falcon, CNN
Colton Harris-Moore, accused of thefts on the West Coast, is now wanted in the Midwest.
Colton Harris-Moore, accused of thefts on the West Coast, is now wanted in the Midwest.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Colton Harris-Moore accused in incidents in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa
  • He was dubbed "barefoot bandit" after shoeless break-ins in Oregon and Washington
  • He's considered armed after laser-dot incident in Yankton, South Dakota
  • He escaped from juvenile halfway house in 2008

(CNN) -- The teenage fugitive accused of stealing planes, cars and boats along the West Coast is now wanted in the nation's heartland, police say.

If the allegations against Colton Harris-Moore, 19, are true, the young man may have become more desperate, if not dangerous, according to authorities.

Harris-Moore, dubbed the "barefoot bandit" because he was without shoes when he allegedly broke into houses in Oregon and Washington, is suspected in a string of brazen thefts and break-ins in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.

Authorities in Madison County, Nebraska, issued an arrest warrant for Harris-Moore on Friday, court documents show. He has been charged with burglary and theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

The affidavit supporting the warrant details a crime spree fitting the alleged pattern of the elusive teen, who has amassed thousands of followers on Facebook.

Harris-Moore also is suspected of breaking into a home in Yankton, South Dakota, on June 17, police said.

The residents returned early one morning to find the intruder inside the house, said Jerry Hisek, the Yankton Police Department's assistant police chief.

"He'd eaten some of their food, took a shower, cut his hair," Hisek said of the intruder. "He started to run and the guy chased him into the basement of the house."

The intruder "laser-dotted the guy and said, 'I have a gun. Get out of here, or I'm going to kill you.'" Hisek said the owner did not know if the individual had a laser pen or a gun.

"We're classifying him as armed," he said.

Authorities say they suspect Harris-Moore broke into two airports: Chan Gurney in Yankton and Karl Stefan Memorial in Norfolk, Nebraska.

On June 19, a Toyota Sequoia was reported stolen in Yankton, police said. The vehicle was recovered the next day in a park in Norfolk, according to an affidavit that alleges that Harris-Moore illegally entered the Norfolk airport the same day.

In the airport incident, a person disabled a surveillance system and tried to get inside a plane that was in a hangar, police said. Security video from the airport indicated it is likely the person was Harris-Moore, police said.

Two days later, a Cadillac Escalade was stolen from the Norfolk airport. It was found later that day in Pella, Iowa, authorities said, adding that the suspect stole another vehicle in Pella before dumping it in Dallas City, Iowa.

Authorities have been looking for Harris-Moore since 2008, when he escaped from a juvenile halfway house in Renton, Washington, where he was serving a three-year sentence. He had pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary.

The San Juan County, Washington, sheriff's office has called Harris-Moore a suspect in the thefts of four small airplanes. Two planes were recovered after "hard landings" that resulted in thousands of dollars in damage.

In June, the San Juan County Sheriff's Office said Harris-Moore also was a suspect in the theft of a fishing boat.

Harris-Moore has not been charged with stealing the boat or planes.

20th Century Fox has purchased the rights for a film based on the exploits of the young fugitive.

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