The cops claim Colt has “vaporized,” “vanished,” and “ran like lightning.” When the posse does close in, he allegedly rustles luxury cars, boats, and even planes.
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Two weeks after Colt finished his community service, he rode his bike the ten miles back to the park. "He was kinda shy, handed me three small bags and just said, 'Here.' I'd told him we had a very small budget for new plants, and he'd gone out and hand-harvested seeds from local flowers that he thought would grow well in the park. I said, 'Oh my God, thank you so much!' And he's like 'Yeah, all right. Well, I guess I'll go, bye.' He started to walk away but then turned around and said, 'Thank you for being so nice to me.' I was literally teary-eyed."
Colt, unfortunately, has escalated beyond youth programs he turned 18 last March. "One of the problems of our justice system is that he'll be tried as an adult for any new crimes, so he'll end up in jail," says Eric Trupin, a child psychologist and director of the University of Washington's Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy. "That's unfortunate for this kid, but, again, he is a risk to the community. He's gonna hurt somebody if he keeps this up."
NOVEMBER IS THE SHITTIEST month on Puget Sound. Halloween leaves behind malevolent winds and drooling skies. The shockingly short days have to compete with the four months of sunny, 72-degree days and 9 P.M. summer sunsets that went before. Down on Camano, another wave of burglaries sweeps across the island like a cold front. One woman's home is hit twice within a week. She knows Colt's back because, she claims, over the years he's robbed her eight times, always for cash and food. She says this time he took some pizzas.
On my last trip down to Camano, a black-windowed SUV pulls up as I sit in front of the Elger Bay Café. The four deputies inside are loaded for bear, and I'm told they're a search team. When I stop by Pam's trailer, a friend of hers shows me his plans for booby-trapping the property with modified shotgun-shell "toe-poppers" in order to keep the cops and the media and the weirdness away. Pam's very interested in the price of bulletproof vests. "I'm going to get Colt one," she tells me. "I don't care if he wants it or not. I'm getting him one and he's going to wear it. Sometimes a mother has to put her foot down."
With multiple warrants for his arrest plus cash rewards offered by the Orcas and Camano chambers of commerce, Colt can't trust anyone, can't risk turning on a light in a house that's supposed to be empty, and hopefully won't risk breaking into an occupied home. The islanders are edgy. While this remains the safest and friendliest place I've ever lived, nearly everyone I know, from the most liberal tree hugger to the most conservative clear-cutter, is armed some disturbingly so and has been since long before Colt showed up.When homes started getting hit again on Camano, Pam's neighbors say, police helicopters were up searching at night. The colder it gets outside, the easier it is for the thermal-imaging gear to pinpoint a small campfire or a warm face poking out of a sleeping bag. The fact that the infrared hasn't spotted him means that Colt's back to house-hopping, he's slipped loose of the dragnet yet again, or just to help along the legend he's a vampire.
In another strange twist, Ed Wallace says that Island County is now seeing copycats. "Burglars are hitting homes, stealing cash, and then grabbing a pot pie before they leave. That way, everything gets blamed on Colt."
Speculation on how this will all end remains a popular local pastime, second only to coming up with ways to catch Colt using various combinations of tranquilizer darts and tiger traps. If he doesn't surrender peacefully or wind up forming the red bull's-eye in a burnt circle of ground where a stolen Cessna augers in, a lot of people think Colt will end up gunned down by the police. A shot fired during the Granite Falls chase and an assault rifle stolen from a deputy's car with Colt a suspect in both events could lead to quick draws. That's not what the cops are saying, though. In fact, they're not saying much about the case anymore. "I'm very cognizant of the fact I don't want to be part of the problem with this young man by giving him notoriety, creating myths behind him that endanger the community and do not bode well for him in the long run," says Bill Cumming, who along with Trupin believes that Colt narcissistically digs the infamy and that it may cause him to escalate to tragic levels.