'Cult of Colton' fades for Barefoot Bandit

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 16, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 16 at 6:41 PM

COUPEVILLE, Wash. -- A lonely sandwich seller works the sidewalk outside the Island County Courthouse, but no one is biting. At least 600 people were expected to turn out to see Colton Harris-Moore, a.k.a The Barefoot Bandit, be sentenced on Friday, but only a small handful showed up.

"Seems like he did some pretty big things, like stealing a plane," says Brittany Fischback peddling box lunches for Coupeville's Ciao restaurant. "I guess that only gets you so far."

As Harris-Moore was sentenced to 87 months in prison Friday his mother was conspicuously absent. Only two relatives, who hid from news cameras and refused to speak in support of their newphew showed up. The once larger than life young man is now largely alone.

Island County officials thought there would be so many people who would want to watch the courtroom proceedings that they set up an "overflow room." They even put out tourism brochoures. Instead, the room was empty except for a pair of reporters and a lone deputy.

In fact, despite all the "Free Colton" websites, t-shirts and devotionals that led up to this day, the only supporters we found were two teenaged girls who called themselves "Team Colton." They showed up before the court even opened hoping to catch a glimpse of Harris-Moore.

"I mean the kid's a genius," they gushed. "He's brilliant. Colton Einstein!"

Now that the Barefoot Bandit has been exposed as more of a dysfunctional delinquint than fantastic folk hero his story is proving to be more sizzle than steak. Not a single Barefoot Bandit Burger selling at a largely empty Front Street Grill today. Even the restaurant's manager, Sean Anter, thinks that's rather fitting.

"The nickname he got was a little interesting, but other than that, he's just another criminal."

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