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'Barefoot bandit' returned to United States from Bahamas

By the CNN Wire Staff
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'Barefoot bandit' sets foot in Miami
  • NEW: Colton Harris-Moore has arrived in Miami, Florida
  • NEW: "He seems to be very remorseful," his lawyer said
  • "Barefoot bandit" pleads guilty to landing plane illegally
  • Teen was sentenced to three months in prison or fined $300

Miami, Florida (CNN) -- The "barefoot bandit," teenager Colton Harris-Moore, was taken Tuesday from the Bahamas to Miami to face charges, the FBI said.

Special Agent Judith Orihuela said he landed at 6:23 p.m. aboard an American Eagle flight on which the FBI was aboard, and will appear Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in federal court in Miami.

The 19-year-old's arrival occurred a few hours after he pleaded guilty in a Bahamian court to a charge of illegally landing a plane, paid a $300 fine and was ordered deported, his lawyer said.

A federal law enforcement official said the $300 came from a program for U.S. citizens abroad who are strapped for cash.

Video: Who is the 'Barefoot Bandit' suspect?
Video: Mother of 'Barefoot Bandit' speaks
  • Bahamas
  • Crime

Harris-Moore's lawyer, Monique Gomez, said her fee was being paid not by her client but by "an anonymous donor."

"He seems to be very remorseful," the lawyer told CNN in a telephone interview from Nassau about her client, who attended the court hearing wearing white sneakers, shorts and a T-shirt bearing the word "Bahamas."

Harris-Moore was taken into custody on Harbour Island in the Bahamas early Sunday. He is sought in a string of home and airport break-ins in various U.S. locations along with thefts of vehicles.

Asked whether he acknowledges guilt in the other cases, his lawyer said, "Let me put it this way -- he wishes he had done things a little differently in his life."

Still, she added, he appeared "in good spirits."

Authorities in Madison County, Nebraska, issued an arrest warrant for Harris-Moore last month on charges of burglary and theft by unlawful taking or deception. The affidavit supporting the warrant alleges the youth waged a crime spree.

He faces charges in Washington state in the theft of an aircraft, and police have said they believe he stole a Cessna in Indiana and flew it to the Bahamas, where it was found in the shallows off Abaco Island.

The teen had been on the run since he escaped from a juvenile halfway house in Renton, Washington, in 2008. The FBI had offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Typically in extradition cases, the accused makes a first appearance in the federal court closest to where he was arrested, said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Washington.

The Southern District of Florida, in Miami, is the closest jurisdiction to the Bahamas, said Langlie.

In his initial U.S. appearance, he will be told of his rights and read an initial charge of interstate transportation of stolen property, Langlie said. The complaint, which was sealed until last week, was filed last December and stems from his allegedly stealing a plane in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, and crashing it outside Granite Falls, Washington, she said.

U.S. marshals will then take him to the Western District of Washington in Seattle.

Under the federal system, the case will then go to a grand jury. If an indictment is returned, more charges could be filed.

The federal charge of interstate transportation of stolen goods carries a penalty of up to 10 years.

Federal prosecutors are working with other states to determine the best way to go forward in this case, but the Washington courts will get him first since he was arrested on their warrant, she said.

Harris-Moore is called the "barefoot bandit" because he was without shoes when he allegedly broke into houses. He also was barefoot when apprehended in the Bahamas at the Romora Bay Resort and Marina by police responding to a reported sighting Sunday.

The youth has amassed more than 80,000 Facebook fans. In December, Time magazine dubbed him "America's Most Wanted Teenage Bandit." Also, 20th Century Fox has purchased the rights for a film based on his exploits.

Romora Bay officials said in a statement Harris-Moore arrived on Harbour Island from the nearby island of Eleuthera in a 15-foot skiff. The marina's security director, Kenneth Strachan, reported seeing him running down the dock about 2 a.m. Sunday, carrying a gun. The young man told him, "They're going to kill me," Strachan reported. He put out a call for help.

Guards disabled the skiff's engine, but the young man attempted to steal a second boat, according to resort manager Anne Ward. However, he ran aground in the shallow water. Authorities surrounded him and shot out the boat's engines, Ward said.

"At one point, the boy threw his computer in the water and put a gun to his head," she said in the statement. "He was going to kill himself. Police talked him out of it." Authorities loaded him into a resort work truck and took him to a police station, the statement said. Police said a gun and other items were seized from him.

CNN's Ashley Hayes, Patrick Oppmann, Susan Candiotti, Tom Watkins and InSession Correspondent Jean Casarez contributed to this report.