Barefoot Bandit suspect indicted by grand jury

A 19-year-old US man accused of stealing several planes after teaching himself to fly has moved a step closer to a trial date in Seattle.

Colton Harris-Moore will face five charges, including interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft and being a fugitive in possession of a firearm.

The teenager was nicknamed the Barefoot Bandit during his alleged two-year string of thefts from Washington state to the Caribbean. The spree prompted film and book offers.

Harris-Moore was indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle yesterday. Indictment is a formal process in which jurors are asked whether they believe there is enough evidence for charges to be pressed.

"The grand jury action today is an important step in holding Colton Harris-Moore accountable for his criminal conduct," said Jenny Durkan from the US Attorney's office.

Harris-Moore faces up to 10 years in jail on each of four of the counts. He remains in a federal detention centre in Washington state while he awaits trial.

He is suspected of committing more than 80 crimes across nine states since allegedly walking away from a halfway house in April 2008.

He grew up in a quiet rural community north of Seattle.

After a two-year run from the law, he was caught on 10 July in the Bahamas, a week after authorities say he crash-landed a plane stolen from an Indiana airport.

Harris-Moore was deported by the Bahamas to the US after pleading guilty to illegally entering the country. The US embassy paid a $300 (£185) fine on his behalf.

Harris-Moore's notoriety took off after his alleged daring escape to the Caribbean.

Executives from movie and TV production companies inquired about his story, prompting his mother – Pam Kohler – to hire an entertainment lawyer to help her field unsolicited offers.

A Harris-Moore fan club on Facebook has more than 23,000 members.

Police called Harris-Moore the Barefoot Bandit because investigators say they found footprints identified as his at several crime scenes.

The grand jury focused on four different incidents. In one, Harris-Moore is accused of stealing a Cessna from Idaho and flying it to Washington state in September 2009.

He is further accused of stealing a boat from Washington in May of this year.

Prosecutors also allege Harris-Moore stole a pistol in Canada and carried it to the US.

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