Twenty-year-old Colton Harris-Moore, better known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” was sentenced to seven years in state prison for his infamous international crime spree.
Over the course of a 13-year criminal history, Harris-Moore had been wanted for a variety of high-profile thefts, including stealing planes, boats, numerous cars and trucks, and burglarizing countless homes across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
He pled guilty to causing millions of dollars in damage, and Judge Vicki Churchill, who sentenced him, thought Harris-Moore’s upbringing was a major influencing factor on his decision to lead a life of crime.
Churchill spoke about the 20-year-old’s life experiences, calling it a “mind-numbing absence of hope,” according to AP.
The judge also highlighted the fact that Harris-Moore survived his ordeal, saying, “This case is a tragedy in many ways, but it’s a triumph of the human spirit in other ways.”
Prosecutors were pushing for an even longer sentence, suggesting nine-and-a-half years would be more appropriate considering the severity of charges like identity theft, theft of a firearm, and residential burglary.
However, Harris-Moore’s repentance from his ways and his remorseful testimony could have influenced Judge Churchill to be a bit more lenient.
The Barefoot Bandit described his experience flying to show how exhilarating his lifestyle could be- before the inevitable crash.
“The euphoria of the countdown to takeoff and the realization of a dream was nearly blinding," he Harris-Moore said of his 2008 flight. "My first thought after takeoff was 'Oh my God, I'm flying.' I had waited my entire life for that moment."
Because of his inexperience, he crash landed on the Yakama Indian Reservation.
Other reparations have been made on the part of the Bandit: Fox bought the movie rights to his story, which reportedly could be worth upwards of $1 million. The 20-year-old decided to donate that money to the victims of his misdeeds.
He also claimed that he wants to earn an aeronautical engineering degree in prison, which would be possible over the seven year stint.
Harris-Moore was caught in the Bahamas while trying to use a speedboat to get to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Authorities shot out the engine and arrested the slippery thief.
The boy gained his infamous moniker from committing several burglaries without shoes, and leaving footprints on the floors and walls of several crime scenes.
For Harris-Moore, seven years behind bars is a blessing in disguise. “Colton’s very pleased,” his attorney John Henry Browne said. “He was expecting the worst.”