Bahama islanders take pride In 'Barefoot Bandit' arrest

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Barefoot Bandit held at this police station"The Island has been positively crackling with excitement of having bagged the 'Barefoot Bandit'," Trish Becker Chinitz, founder of Trish Becker Jewelry tells WalletPop.

As a child, Chinitz spent summers and holidays on Harbour Island. This small, popular vacation destination just off mainland Eleuthera -- frequented by the likes of Robert De Niro, Richard Gere, Cameron Diaz, and Drew Barrymore -- is a place she calls home. In fact, six years ago, she joined the ranks of Ron Perelman, Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg, and Elle MacPherson and bought a place there; just last month, she got married on the Island.

She and her husband recently returned for the holiday -- Bahamian Independence Day (July 10) -- to "chill" and enjoy a "mellow week."

Who knew so much would be going on?

Stolen planes. Powerboats. Cars. Reportedly over 100 burglaries spanning the course of two years -- allegedly committed by Colton A. Harris-Moore, aka the "Barefoot Bandit," a 19-year old international fugitive on the FBI's "Most Wanted List" -- and he's captured by the Bahamian police in the middle of the night following a high-speed boat chase? "We're accustomed to celebrity invasions, but not this," says Chinitz.

There was screaming. Yelling. Running. Shots were heard in the final moments before the chase ended -- in the waters off the Romora Bay Resort & Marina. "At one point, the young man put a gun to his head and was going to kill himself, but authorities talked him out of it," resort manager, Anne Ward tells WalletPop. He eventually spent the night in the local jail (see photo above).

Ward and other locals had been on "heightened alert" ever since the lanky, 6-foot-5-inch teenager crash-landed a stolen $600,000 plane on Abaco Island -- one that he allegedly lifted in Indiana, despite a lack of formal flight training. So when Ward's security director, Kenneth Strachan, spotted this serial criminal out by the docks yesterday, it was obvious they had their guy. "We all rallied together and did what we had to do," says Ward.

And while many of Barefoot Bandit's Facebook fans (over 75,000, at last count) are disappointed by the arrest of their glorified Internet folk hero (There are even YouTube ballads dedicated to him!), and some fans are promoting T-shirts and tote bags with the words, "Free Colton!" and "Let Colton Fly!", victims -- and locals -- are relieved.

Some are celebrating. Last night the Afro Band, which plays every Sunday night at Valentines Marina, incorporated "We caught the "'Barefoot Bandit'" raps into several of their calypso songs, says Chinitz.

A few locals are even "chuckling," says Ward. "This young man managed to elude FBI authorities and all their technology for over two years, and it's our good old-fashioned crime-fighting Bahamian police who capture him."

Adds Chinitz. "The exemplary police response and actions have inspired a great deal of Island pride!"

Harris-Moore, who was dubbed the "Barefoot Bandit" because of his habit of removing his shoes prior to break-ins (and sometimes leaving white chalk footprints as a calling card), is scheduled to appear in court later this week.

Experts say he will likely be extradited to the United States after he faces charges in the Bahamas.
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