Hollywood studio pays off 'Barefoot Bandit's' restitution in exchange for rights to his story

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SEATTLE — A Hollywood studio has paid more than $1 million to settle the "Barefoot Bandit's" court-ordered restitution in exchange for the rights to his story.

The studio, 20th Century Fox, wrote a check to the U.S. Marshal's office earlier this month. It was the final payment toward Colton Harris-Moore's restitution, The Seattle Times reported (http://is.gd/AKjCNY ).

The "Barefoot Bandit's" life on the run is now headed toward the big screen. The money mostly paid for three small airplanes he stole and crash landed and a boat he hijacked in the Bahamas while evading capture.

Harris-Moore was sentenced to 6 ½ years in federal prison in 2012 for the theft of the airplanes, a boat and guns during a crime spree that began when he escaped from a Renton juvenile halfway house in 2008.

A book and a documentary of his exploits already have been published.

The Internet made Harris-Moore a cult hero, and at one time, he had nearly 50,000 followers on his Facebook page, where he would occasionally leave a post written on a stolen laptop.

He eluded a massive manhunt, while police warned that he was dangerous.

Harris-Moore said he taught himself how to fly using flight manuals and a computer flight simulator, according to court documents.

While he was able to get the planes off the ground and pilot them, sometimes in bad weather, he had a tougher time with the landings. Harris-Moore crashed all three of them, acknowledging in defense documents that he very nearly died in a September 2009 crash of a stolen Cessna that went down near Granite Falls in Snohomish County.

During his 2012 sentencing before U.S. District Judge Richard Jones, Harris-Moore said his dream of flying was the only thing that saved him from the nightmare of a childhood of neglect at the hands of an abusive alcoholic mother. He said some of the burglaries he committed were done to steal food so he wouldn't starve.

The federal sentence was set to run concurrently with a 7 1/2-year sentence imposed in a state court for a series of home and business burglaries.

Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com

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