‘Barefoot Bandit’ Will Use $1.3M Movie Deal to Pay Back Victims

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AP Photo/Island County Sheriff's Office via The Herald, File

He stole bicycles, cars, boats, aircraft and committed some 100 thefts—several while reportedly barefoot—and now he’s snatched an estimated $1.3 million movie deal with 20th Century Fox. What’ll he do with the money? Use it to pay back at least $1.4 million owed to victims of his two-year cross-country crime spree.

Colton Harris-Moore, now 20, had a history of brushes with the law while growing up, mostly for petty thievery. But in April 2008, he fled a juvenile halfway house in Renton, Wash. and embarked on a multi-year international crime spree that culminated in his July 11, 2010 capture by police in the Bahamas while attempting to flee to Cuba by boat (allegedly on his way to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies).

(LIST: Crimes of the Century)

In June, Harris-Moore pleaded not guilty to federal charges, eventually striking a plea deal in which he agreed to forfeit any profits from future earnings based on books, movies or other ways in which he might sell his story.

“I did things that were not only a violation of law, but also of trust,” said Harris-Moore said in a written statement provided by his attorneys. “I can’t undo what I did. I can only try to make things better.” “Better,” in this case, meaning piles of cash: To agree to a deal, Harris-Moore said he had to be able to repay his victims, apparently prompting 20th Century Fox to pony up the unprecedented $1.3 million figure (if it exercises all its options, that is). The entertainment attorney that represented Harris-Moore in negotiations is reportedly over the moon about the deal, calling it “very unusual.”

“I am humbled to know I can now help the people I hurt, at least for the financial damage I caused them,” Harris-Moore wrote in his statement. “I have absolutely zero interest in profiting from any of this and I won’t make a dime off it. It all goes to restitution. That’s what I insisted on from the beginning and the contract I signed guarantees it.”

Who’ll write the story? Academy Award-winning scriptwriter Dustin Lance Black (Big LoveMilk), though it’ll probably undergo a rewrite once Harris-Moore reveals further details. As for who’ll play Harris-Moore, the rumor mill’s picked Zac Efron (High School MusicalHairspray), though we’ve also seen nods to Michael Cera (JunoScott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefThe Three Musketeers).

One thing’s certain: It won’t be Leonardo DiCaprio. (via HeraldNet)

MORE: ‘Barefoot Bandit’ Suspect Pleads Not Guilty: Could a Future Movie Get Nixed?

Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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