Prosecutors seek charges for teen burglary suspect

Prosecutors seek charges for teen burglary suspect »Play Video
Prosecutors are seeking to charge Colton Harris-Moore, the 15-year-old suspected in a string of home burglaries around Camano Island, with ten counts of burglary and several counts of identity theft.

"There's a lot of people whose privacy was violated, their homes entered, burglarized, their computers used," said Island County Sheriff Mark Brown. "I mean, this was a huge impact on the citizens on Island County."

Deputies arrested Harris-Moore on Friday night after a tip led them to the teen's hideout. A resident saw the lights go on inside his neighbor's home, which was supposed to be vacant. Deputies surrounded the south Camano Island house and tried to negotiate with Harris-Moore, who was inside.

Brown said the teen's mother helped with negotiations.

"We actually started a conversation with Mr. Moore. Mr. Moore's mother showed up. We allowed her to call him on the phone and ask him to come out, and eventually he did," he said.

Harris-Moore surrendered and deputies arrested him around 9:28 p.m. Detectives said the teen was not armed, but was carrying bear repellent, a very potent version of police pepper spray. Harris-Moore is now being held at the Island County Juvenile Detention Center in Coupeville.

"I can't tell you how grateful I am to talk about a happy ending to a potentially dangerous situation," Brown said.

Harris-Moore was wanted on felony arrest warrants for theft and possession of stolen property.

Detective Ed Wallace said the teen has been breaking into homes to steal valuables and to use the homeowners' computers to place fraudulent orders on line.

Wallace said the teen has been living in campsites in the woods and has broken into vacant houses and summer homes to seek shelter.

When John Bisset and his wife returned from a three week vacation, they found that someone had been living in their Camano Island house.

"You're nervous, you're scared, you don't know what to do," he said.

Bisset said the teen slept in their bed, ate in their kitchen, took showers and even zipped around town in their black Mercedes. The couple said he also used their credit cards buy things on line and have them delivered to the house.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said that's the boy's game. He said Harris-Moore is copying credit card information when he breaks into homes and using the information to purchase items on line, which he has shipped to vacant homes.

"He's been somewhat resourceful in a sense that he uses people's computers and credit card information," said Brown.

A week after John and his wife returned home, they caught Harris-Moore trying to break in again.

"He must have known we were sleeping in the house," said Bisset, "you talk about weird, strange, awful and scary."

Investigators said the teen has been a fugitive for almost a year. Because he's from the area, he knows the back woods well.

While the teen has not threatened or harmed anyone during the alleged burglaries, investigators believe the teen may have carried a gun at some point.

Brown said detectives believe someone else may have helped Harris-Moore, and that any accomplices could also face criminal charges.

An all-community meeting is still planned for 6 p.m. on Monday night at the Camano Island Grange.