The words, Barefoot and Bahamas, go together like rum and coke. This story of the Bahamas isn’t going to be about white sandy beaches or dancing palm trees, no sir. It’s going to be about the FBI and one scary smart kid’s quest to escape justice.
Meet Kenny (pictured above), he is a local security guard on Harbour Island in the Bahamas. As Erin and I were tooling about the small streets of Harbour Island in our golf cart trying to find some place to eat, we come across this guy walking on the side of the road with his thumb in the air. Hitch hiking is fairly common on small islands where everyone pretty much knows everyone else. Knowing this, I thought I’d help this guy out and give him a lift. After all we were starving and looking for Ma Ruby’s which wasn’t on our not so handy dandy map, I figured a local could show us the way.
Jumping on to the back seat of the golf cart, Kenny quickly introduced himself and asked us if we’ve ever heard of the Barefoot Bandit. I was hungry so the question took a second or two to compute. The words “Have you heard of the Barefoot Bandit?”, were literally the first things out of his mouth after, “Hi, I’m Kenny”, so I knew something interesting was afoot. After we said we did in fact know the story of the Barefoot Bandit, Kenny proudly said, “I helped catch that kid, I’m famous.”
In case you don’t know who the Barefoot Bandit is here is some background from Wikipedia.
Colton A. “Colt” Harris-Moore (born March 22, 1991) is a former fugitive from Camano Island, Washington. He has been charged in the thefts of at least five small aircraft, a boat, and two cars and in the burglaries of at least 100 private residences in various locations around the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. He fled to the Bahamas on July 4, 2010, allegedly in a plane stolen from Bloomington, Indiana. He was indicted on July 6, 2010 by a U.S. Federal Court in Seattle, Washington on charges of transporting another stolen aircraft in that state. Harris-Moore was arrested in Harbour Island, Bahamas on July 11, 2010, after police shot out the engine of the boat in which he was attempting to flee. Two days later, he was deported from Nassau, Bahamas to Miami, Florida and transferred on July 21 to SeaTac, Washington where he is awaiting trial.
He became known as the “Barefoot Bandit” by reportedly committing some of his crimes barefoot, once leaving behind a chalk footprint. Despite the widely-reported nickname, officials said that he more often wore shoes.
When Kenny told us he was one of the people who helped the FBI catch this 19 year old mastermind kid that fooled the authorities for 2 years, we were a bit skeptical. He could just be messing with the naive tourists and laughing about us later to his friends. We pull up to the almost hidden Ma Ruby’s and pile out of the cart. I ask Kenny for a photo, I decided I’d get a photo with this maybe hero, and unravel the truth with a little help of Google when I go home. But as we were taking the photo a guy came out of Ma Ruby’s and sarcastically told us to quit harassing the local celebrities.
We all laugh and Kenny starts his way down the street and Erin and I cozy up to the bar at Ma Ruby’s for a couple cold Kaliks. We ask the bartender, who was the one that came out and gave us grief about the impromptu photo shoot out front, if Kenny was legit or just pulling our leg. “Oh, yeah! He is the real deal. It was huge news on this small island and Kenny was one of the guys that caught that kid.”
See what happens when you pick up strange hitch hikers on small tropical islands, you never know who you’re going to meet. You might pick up a friendly face just needing a ride or you might meet a guy who helped catch an international thief.
Here is the Wikipedia info on the capture of the Barefoot Bandit. Sure enough, Kenny’s name is right there. Thanks for the story mon!
On July 11, 2010, Harris-Moore was captured just before dawn at Harbour Island, Bahamas. Local officers picked up his trail in Eleuthera after recovering a 44 foot (13 meter) power boat stolen from a marina on Great Abaco. A police official said the suspect attempted to flee, but police shot out the engine on his boat. Before being arrested, Harris-Moore threw his portable computer into the water and put a gun to his head, but the police talked him out of killing himself. He told the police that he intended to go to Cuba to throw authorities off his trail and proceed to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Despite Harris-Moore’s arrest, the FBI has not yet presented the offered $10,000 reward. Several parties, including Bahamian security guard Kenny Strachan, water taxi captain Jared Johnson, and yacht captains Ronald Billiot and Pat Young are all vying for the money. Jordan Sackett, the son of the owner of a yacht that recorded Harris Moore on its security cameras, is also reportedly claiming the reward. The Camano Chamber of Commerce collected an additional $600 to $700 in reward money that will be turned over to the FBI to determine to whom it should be awarded. Assistant commissioner Hulan Hanna of the Royal Bahamas Police Force said that the claims would be examined and hoped that a decision could be made.