‘Barefoot Bandit’ has U.S. court appearance

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

MIAMI (AP) — The teenager dubbed the ‘‘Barefoot Bandit’’ by authorities will cool his heels in a Miami jail at least two more days while he sorts out which attorney will represent him.

At his first U.S. court appearance Wednesday since his arrest in the Bahamas, Colton Harris-Moore, 19, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Dube he thought his mother had hired a lawyer but he didn’t know the attorney’s name.

‘‘I’d like to speak with my mom first,’’ said Harris-Moore, dressed in a standard tan prison jumpsuit, sandals and white socks. He added that he last spoke to his mother, Pam Kohler, ‘‘about a week ago.’’

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‘‘She said that she hired one,’’ he said. ‘‘I have not met with him yet.’’

Dube set another hearing for Friday morning to determine Harris-Moore’s legal representation, whether he should be released on bail and when he should return to Seattle to face an alleged two-year string of crimes. Harris-Moore is suspected in about 70 burglaries, thefts and other property crimes in eight states and British Columbia, including thefts of aircraft.

— one of which he allegedly flew from Indiana to the Bahamas.

Kohler has asked Seattle defense attorney John Henry Browne to represent her son in the criminal case, which currently involves the alleged theft of a plane in Idaho that was crashed in Washington state. Browne has said he will handle it if Harris-Moore agrees. Another attorney, O. Yale Lewis, is helping Kohler with media and entertainment requests.

Harris-Moore was deported by the Bahamas to the U.S. on Tuesday, shortly after pleading guilty to illegally entering the island nation east of Miami. Harris-Moore’s long odyssey on the lam ended Sunday after police ended a high-speed boat chase by shooting out the vessel’s engine.

Harris-Moore’s attorney in the Bahamas, Monique Gomez, said the U.S. Embassy there would pay the teenager’s $300 fine.

Authorities say he earned the ‘‘Barefoot Bandit’’ nickname by committing some crimes while shoeless, and in February he allegedly drew chalk-outline feet all over the floor of a grocery store during a burglary in Washington’s San Juan Islands.

Harris-Moore told police in the Bahamas that he came there because it has numerous islands, airports and docks. The teenager claimed that he told islanders he was trying to get to Cuba so he could throw police off his trail, but he intended to make his way to the Turks and Caicos Islands southeast of the Bahamas, police said.