The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 21, 2013

Boeing worker mentors 'Barefoot Bandit' in prison

(Continued)

Some of the crimes were committed barefoot, and by 2010, he had rocketed to international notoriety as he stole small airplanes in the Northwest, flew them with no formal training and landed them with various degrees of success. A few were only lightly damaged, but two crashes were so severe he could have been killed.

His final run was a cross-country dash to an airport in Indiana, where he stole a plane, crashed it in the Bahamas, and was arrested in a hail of bullets.

He pleaded guilty to dozens of charges, apologized, and sold the rights to his story to FOX, which plans a movie. Any proceeds will repay his victims.

That, Standridge tells him, is the past — useful in determining how we got where we are, but not what we will become.

A chance encounter led Standridge to Harris-Moore. At last year's Seattle International Film Festival, he met Lance Rosen, Harris-Moore's media attorney. As they made small talk, Rosen grew more interested in Standridge's work and finally asked: Would he be interested in mentoring Harris-Moore?

Intrigued, Standridge sent Harris-Moore a letter in prison. Harris-Moore wrote back, and Standridge was hooked.

"The key ingredient I look for in something like this is somebody who has passion — passion for life, passion to move forward," Standridge said. "It immediately came off the pages of this first letter that we had a highly motivated young man who was looking to change his life."

Stocky and well-spoken, with short, receding white hair and a salt-and-pepper goatee, Standridge is married and has a 19-year-old daughter. He came from a background very different from Harris-Moore. He was born in Oklahoma City to a loving, engaged family and later moved to Illinois. Nevertheless, as a young man he was directionless and fell into heavy drug use, he said. After wasting most of his 20s, he enlisted in the Navy in 1984.

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