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18-Year-Old Suspected Of Plane Thefts

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Authorities on Camano Island in Washington state suspect a one-man crime spree that's now spread to include the theft of two aircraft -- one of which resulted in an alleged 9/11 joy ride -- to be the product of an 18-year-old previously held at a minimum-security Renton juvenile facility from which he escaped. The Seattle Times quotes local authorities who call Colton Harris-Moore a "menace" and an "incredible liability to people's safety." Local sheriff Bill Cumming told the Times be believes the teen stole a Cessna 182 from an Orcas Island hangar last November , flying it east to a hard landing on the Yakama Indian Reservation. The Sept. 11 incident involved a new Cirrus SR22 allegedly stolen by the teen from Friday Harbor and flown to Orcas Island where it too was put down, hard, according to authorities. (At least one report suggests the boy read a flight manual and learned how to fly on the Internet.) The next night, when the Times says the teen was chased by a policeman on Orcas Island, authorities say the young man "laughed out loudly" when he realized he'd escaped. The teen is also suspected in multiple other thefts (including that of a boat) and local burglaries with some episodes caught on surveillance video. His mother has a slightly different opinion of the events.

"I know for a fact he is not doing all of these crimes," Pam Koehler told reporters Tuesday. "Anytime the cops can't catch whoever is doing them, they blame it on Colt," she said. Wanted for failing to appear in court on 10 criminal counts, the teen's record traces back to 2004 or 2003 (depending on the source), when he would have been 12. A warrant for his arrest is outstanding.

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