Colton Harris-Moore, the barefoot bandit, who rose to notoriety after a cross-country crime spree, has reportedly signed a movie deal worth $1.3 million with 20th Century Fox.
The money will be used as restitution payment for his victims. Colton owes the government nearly $1.5 billion, according to the prosecutors. Colton struck a deal with federal prosecutors that will see him serving six-and-a-half years in prison and that he will not profit from his crimes, including from movie rights, which will be ear-marked for the benefit of his victims.
Colton is claiming that donating the money was his idea and not the government’s. "It was my idea -- before the government knew about it," he wrote in a statement. "I learned that the 'Son of Sam' laws [which prevent convicted criminals from profiting from their stories] do not apply in my case because none of my crimes involved violence,” reports Fox News.
Seattle entertainment lawyer Lance Rosen negotiated the deal on Harris-Moore's behalf. He says it's an unusual amount of money to be paid for anyone's life story rights, according to the Daily Herald.
The 20 year-old-felon’s two year crime spree from 2008 onwards involves the theft of two planes and a boat and possession of illegal firearms. Along with these federal charges he faces 30 theft and burglary cases in four counties which may add to his prison term.
Colton Harris-Moore was caught last year in the Bahamas after he crash-landed a stolen plane there. Since then he has been in solitary confinement at the Federal Detention Centre. Sentencing is set for October 28 before US District Judge Richard Jones.
Named ‘Barefoot Bandit’ because of bare footprints found near his crime scenes, the internet and a facebook page turned Harris-Moore into a kind of cult hero. This has further frustrated the prosecutors who claimed that there is nothing hero-like in his actions. Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington said, "There is nothing in his acts to be admired, and nothing should be glorified," according to news reports. She added that real people were hurt by his actions and suffered losses. Colton’s attorney contended his actions as “youthful mistakes” which he regrets.
Colton’s crime life seems to reflect Leonardo DeCaprio’s in the movie, 'Catch Me If You Can.' Writer Bob Friel has written a book, 'The Ballad of Colton,' based on Harris-Moore’s exploits.