We’ve had plaster casts of bare footprints left after a chase on Orcas Island. We’ve had his mom trying to sell a confidential list of crime victims eligible for restitution. We’ve even had former prison mates of Colton’s selling letters written to him by his mom…
The latest offering of Colton Harris-Memorabilia, however, is something different: It’s of proven, police-sworn provenance showing that it’s legit; it’s famously tied to his spree and was covered in every newspaper, book, and TV story; and the money earned from its sale is going to a great cause.
This new framed collection of Barefoot Bandit souvenirs is now up on Ebay, listed under “Historical Memorabilia/Gangsters & Criminals.”
You can see it here: http://tinyurl.com/m8crbue .
Inside the frame you’ll find the $100 Colton left at the Vetter Animal Hospital in Raymond, Washington once he left Orcas Island and began his cross-country road trip that ended with the flight to the Bahamas on the 4th of July.
It was universally reported at the time that Colton left a $100 bill, but we discover that no, it was a collection of bills including $20s, $10s, $5s, $1s and even three $2s. Along with the fanned bills are the police report, evidence bag, and the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab report stating they recovered Harris-Moore’s fingerprints on one of the bills and on the famous note that read:
“Drove by, had some extra cash. Please use this money for the care of animals”
The original note was written on a page torn from the owner’s manual of a car Colton had stolen. So that was returned to its owner. The frame does, however, include a copy of the note.
The bids have already topped $1,000. According to Vetter’s, all proceeds of the sale will benefit the Harbor Association of Volunteers of Animals, which is an animal welfare group in Raymond involved with only no-kill shelters.
One of the coolest and most valuable things about this piece of history is that it speaks directly to one of the most interesting discussions about Colton and some of his actions, our reactions to it all, and fame—including both the seeking and reverence of it.
Colton always professed a love of animals and an interest in animal welfare, so it’s certainly in character that he would leave a donation with an animal hospital. Some folks, however, might wonder where he got the cash to make the donation.
That then leads to the Robin Hood debate: that he stole from the rich to give to the poor dogs. When I talk about this in my book, though, I have to remind readers that many of the crime victims were not rich, and most of what he stole (during the time after he fled the halfway house) went to support himself while he was on the run. Still, he made the gesture… And around we go.
What’s even more interesting about this episode, though, is that Colton repeatedly insisted during and after his run that he didn’t want the attention, that he didn’t understand why people were making a bid deal over him, about how silly the people following on his Facebook groups were. And, of course, how he hatred the press who covered him, all of whom he called “paparazzi.”
So why then instead of leaving the money anonymously—since, after all, anything he did during these months made the news—did he sign the note he left at Vetter’s:
“Colton Harris-Moore (AKA “The Barefoot Bandit” Camano Island)”?
That, to me, makes this the coolest piece of Barefoot Bandit memorabilia we’ve seen. Hang it up and start the debate: Was Colton a hypocrite? Just naive? Or was he brilliant enough to realize that he could multiply his donation to the animals more than tenfold by signing it with his real name then becoming more famous by stealing another plane, getting arrested after a shootout in the Bahamas and going to prison, knowing all along that the evidence would be returned to the animal hospital so they could auction it off?
It's the ultimate conversation piece--and it's a hell of a lot easier to display in your living room than a broken airplane.
And to top it off, the money goes to a great cause!
I hope the bids go sky high.