"Barefoot Bandit's" Discarded Apple Gear Could Betray the Super Crook

In the moments before "Barefoot Bandit" Colton Harris-Moore—the 19 year old accused of dozens of burglaries, car, boat and plane theft—was apprehended, he tossed a MacBook and an iPod into the sea.

Now FBI sleuths are racing against time to recover data from the devices that could further damn this elusive burglar.

In addition to further charges against Harris-Moore, these devices could also provide Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan with the names of anyone who aided Harris-Moore on his international crime spree (which included the fantastical theft and flight of an airplane in Idaho).

Trouble is, no one seems to know if the FBI got the devices in time. Data recovery is entirely possible (even in salt water and even if Harris-Moore deleted the data beforehand), but the Seattle Times reports a number of unknowns could hamper additional charges:

- Did Harris-Moore leave digital traces of websites, e-mail addresses and phone calls he made or received?
- Did the Bahamian cops use proper procedure to inhibit corrosion in the laptop after retrieving it from saltwater, such as keeping it wet until experts could begin data recovery?
- Did anyone plug in the retrieved laptop or iPod touch and turn it on, which could have fried circuits or damaged the hard drive?

If the Bahamians kept the devices in water, it could have slowed corrosion. If not, the FBI's job got a bit tougher—although something tells me this kid's well-documented spree has provided enough evidence already. [Seattle Times - Thanks, Erik]