The story of Colton Harris-Moore aka Barefoot Bandit, the 20-year-old, 6-foot-5 criminal who pleaded guilty to seven federal crime charges on Friday, is headed for Hollywood. Now, can you guess who owns the story of the gawky thief? It may sound a bit surprising, but the answer is the U.S. government.
As per a 28-page plea agreement filed in the federal case, Harris-Moore is negotiating the purchase of his life story for a movie, and under the plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Harris-Moore has also agreed to give up any proceeds earned from the sale of his story.
Prosecutors said the government hopes the negotiations succeed, as Harris-Moore owes a minimum of $1.4 million in compensation in the federal case, and at least $250,000 in state compensation. According to the agreement, any proceeds from Harris-Moore's story will go to his many victims.
Mr. Harris-Moore's flight from justice is over, said U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan at a news conference after the plea hearing. While we cannot stop him from telling his story, we can make sure he never sees a dime for his crimes.
In the plea negotiations between federal prosecutors and the defense, the forfeiture issue had been a sticky point, said Harris-Moore's attorney, John Henry Brown. Whether the government wants it or not, there will be a movie. There will be more books. And there will be money from them, Browne said earlier this month.
Harris-Moore will appear in court in Coupeville in Island County next month to face as many as three-dozen Washington state charges.
The plea agreement recommends that Harris-Moore will have to face up to six-and-a-half years in prison to resolve the federal aspects of his two-year crime spree.
Harris-Moore pleaded guilty to bank burglary; interstate transportation of an aircraft; interstate and foreign transportation of a stolen firearm; being a fugitive in possession of a firearm; piloting an aircraft without a valid airman's certificate; interstate transportation of a stolen vessel; and interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft.
Variety reported that Fox snapped up the feature rights to Harris-Moore's man-on-the-run story, which is likely to be named Taking Flight: The Hunt for a Young Outlaw.
The feature is based on a book proposal by Bob Friel, who profiled Harris-Moore in the January edition of adventure magazine Outside, the Variety report said.
Speculations are rife that the movie will be produced in the fashion of 2002′s Catch Me If You Can, staring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Harris-Moore became famous as the Barefoot Bandit because bare footprints were found at several crime scenes. Thanks to Internet, the Barefoot Bandit is now a worldwide cult hero. There is also a Colton Harris-Moore Facebook page having thousands of followers.