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Originally published Monday, February 25, 2013 at 3:52 PM

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Problem arises over new 'Barefoot Bandit' charge

There's a potential problem with one of two new charges filed against "Barefoot Bandit" Colton Harris-Moore: He already pleaded guilty to it.

Associated Press

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SEATTLE —

There's a potential problem with one of two new charges filed against "Barefoot Bandit" Colton Harris-Moore: He already pleaded guilty to it.

The youthful thief who gained international notoriety acknowledged dozens of crimes and was sentenced to seven years in prison as part of a 2011 plea deal resolving charges against him in three Washington counties.

Among those crimes was first-degree theft for stealing a Cirrus airplane from Anacortes in Skagit County in February 2010 and flying it to Orcas Island in San Juan County.

Earlier this month, Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich, who refused to take part in the plea deal, charged Harris-Moore with second-degree burglary for breaking into Anacortes Airport, and first-degree theft for taking the plane.

Weyrich said he didn't join the plea deal because he wanted Harris-Moore to answer for the Skagit County crimes in a local courtroom. Weyrich did not immediately return a call or an email on Monday seeking comment.

Charging Harris-Moore with theft of the plane - a crime for which he's already serving prison time - would appear to violate his constitutional right against being prosecuted twice for the same crime.

However, Skagit County could still be able to pursue the burglary charge.

Harris-Moore's lawyer, John Henry Browne, said last week it was "juvenile" for Weyrich to pursue further charges against his client, and the realization that Harris-Moore had already pleaded guilty to one of the latest charges made it "even more silly."

"Obviously Mr. Weyrich doesn't know the background of this case," Browne said. "Maybe this will make him change his mind."

San Juan County prosecutor Randall Gaylord previously charged Harris-Moore with the plane theft because he landed it in San Juan County. The crime was not included in the original charges but was added just days before Harris-Moore entered his plea in December 2011.

Harris-Moore was a thorn for Western Washington police since boyhood. He led authorities on a two-year game of cat-and-mouse in stolen cars, boats and airplanes. His run ended in 2010 after he crash-landed a stolen plane in the Bahamas and was arrested on a stolen boat in a hail of bullets.

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Johnson can be reached at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle

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