NC man killed in shoot-out with bail bond agents #PrivateOfficerNews

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. May 1 2016—A man whom bail bonding agents were trying to apprehend was killed in an exchange of gunfire Thursday night, Davidson County deputies said.

Danny Holmes, 37, was found dead around 10:20 p.m. in a vehicle in front of his mobile home on Woodleen Court off Enterprise Road near Arcadia.

Eight bondsmen and a female bonding agent went to the home to apprehend Holmes, who faced four orders for arrest in Guilford County, deputies said. According to Davidson County Sheriff David Grice, the bond agents said Holmes fired at them first.

An exchange of gunfire ensued, and Holmes died as a result of the exchange, deputies said. Neighbors told WXII’s Bill O’Neil that they heard more than 50 shots.

At least five bond agents may have fired at Holmes, Grice said. None of the agents were members of a law enforcement agency, Grice said.

Holmes’ death is being investigated as a homicide. The investigative findings will be given to the district attorney to determine if any charges will be filed, Grice said.

Holmes’ orders for arrest included charges of assault with a deadly weapon, injury to personal property and communicating threats. He also faced warrants for arrest on charges of breaking and entering, larceny and obtaining property by false pretense.

A gun was found at Holmes’ feet inside the vehicle, Grice said. Nine handguns and two shotguns were seized from the bond agents at the scene, Grice said.

Some of the bond agents were with were U Bail Bonds in Greensboro, while others were with at least two other agencies whose names haven’t been determined yet, Grice said.

Holmes’ girlfriend, Jennifer McDowell, 34, was found uninjured inside the home. She was taken into custody by deputies on warrants on failure to appear out of Guilford County.

Holmes had a long criminal record that included breaking and entering, larceny and drug charges.

Woman shot by bounty hunter near Graham Washington dies #PrivateOfficerNews

GRAHAM, Wash. April 15 2016

The partner of a Graham woman shot and killed by bail enforcement agents says seeing her gunned down before his eyes was devastating.

“Would you be in good shape if you hadn’t seen your partner shot in front of you and killed?” Kevin Veale said. “It’s not a very good feeling.”

Veale was at the home of Kathryn New, 60, about 8 a.m. Wednesday when three bail enforcement agents, sometimes referred to as bounty hunters, came to take her son Aaron New back to jail in connection with a court order prohibiting contact she had taken out last November after a violent family confrontation.

Detective Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, said the three agents were confronted by Kathryn New, who tried to stop them then retreated to another room before returning with a firearm.

“Came out with what appeared to be a weapon and tried to take a gun out of the case. At that point there was some yelling back and forth and she ended up being shot and tased pretty close to the same time period,” said Troyer.

Kathryn New died a short time later at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Tacoma.

Bail enforcement agents have the legal right to enter the home of someone wanted for violating conditions of release. They often carry firearms for protection but only have the right to shoot someone in self-defense.

Veale said despite the agent’s claims they were threatened, he believes the shooting was not justified.

“Killing an unarmed person’s justified? No that’s not justified,” said Veale. Asked about investigators’ statements that New was armed and that a weapon was recovered from the scene, Veale said, “Well that sounds like a good story to me.”

Another one of New’s sons, Patrick New, came to the scene and said his mother was simply defending herself when the agents came to take her son into custody.

“I’m thinking that they kicked in her door and she has a legal right to protect her property under the [expletive] Constitution of America,” Patrick New said. “If this ain’t America no more I don’t know what to say.”

The three agents are said to be cooperating with investigators and are not under arrest. Aaron New was booked into the Pierce County Jail for violating the no-contact order. He is also wanted on a $50,000 warrant for driving under the influence.


Indiana police charge bounty hunter with police impersonation after raiding home #PrivateOfficerNews

MONROVIA, Ind. April 9 2016— The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office served a warrant Wednesday night related to an ongoing investigation into alleged police impersonator Jamar Weathersbe, 38.

He was arrested last month and formally charged with impersonating a police officer, a level 6 felony.

Monrovia Town Marshall Kenneth Jackson tells Call 6 Investigates they found and removed lights from Weathersbe’s vehicle, and seized anything related to law enforcement.

According to the probable cause affidavit, a woman was driving on I-70 near a rest area when a red Charger came up behind her and activated red and clear visor lights and what sounded like an air horn.

The woman did not feel safe stopping and eventually pulled into a neighborhood where she said Weathersbe showed a badge and shouted “I am a (expletive) cop and I have a camera that recorded everything,” according to court documents.

The female driver called Monrovia Police who responded and located the red Charger at Weathersbe’s Monrovia home.

When police asked to see Weathersbe’s badge, the suspect showed it to officers, said it was issued by the state of Pennsylvania for being a bounty hunter.

The Indiana Department of Insurance issued an emergency cease and desist order for Weathersbe, saying he must stop all activity as a licensed bail agent.

Weathersbe has never been licensed by the Indiana Department of Insurance in any capacity, including as a bail agent or recovery agent.

Call 6 Investigates also checked with the State of Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

“Our department does not license bounty hunters or bail enforcement agents, and Mr. Weathersbe isn’t currently licensed with the department for any sort of insurance business,” said Ali Fogarty, deputy press secretary for the Insurance Department for the State of Pennsylvania.

Call 6 Investigates was unable to reach Weathersbe for comment.

According to a Facebook post by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the SWAT team secured Weathersbe’s home “in less than 4 minutes without incident”

Weathersbe is scheduled for a court hearing on April 22.

Jackson said they are also following up on additional complaints regarding Weathersbe.


Denver area bounty hunter arrested for shooting at robbery suspect #PrivateOfficerNews

AURORA, Colo. Jan 13 2016 – Gun safety experts are concerned about the purported bounty hunter accused of firing at an Aurora robbery suspect.

“My greatest concern is that people will see something like that or hear about that and follow the example,” said Jacob Paulsen, owner of USA Firearm Training. “We want people to have the moral fiber to stand up and do what’s right, but in a way that’s more appropriate.”

In Colorado, Paulsen points out, there is no state required curriculum or even a shooting test for Concealed Carry permits, which mean gun owners have different levels of training on legal and ethical issues.

He said this is particularly concerning because of the dramatic increase in people interested in background checks and firearms.

“The greatest concern we probably have is that some of these people really receive very little to minimal training,” said Paulsen.

Aurora Police say Saturday night at an Aurora Subway, a bystander claiming to be a bounty hunter took the law into his own hands to stop a robber’s escape, firing a warning shot into the air and shooting at the suspect’s car.

That purported bounty hunter, Avery Nelson, 25, has a criminal past that includes charges of Carrying a Concealed Weapon and Assault.

Now, Nelson faces charges of reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm.

“This isn’t a movie. This isn’t an old Western. Those bullets got to go somewhere,” said George Brauchler, the District Attorney for Arapahoe County, who told Denver7 Reporter Jaclyn Allen that he could not speak about this specific case, but generally firing warning shots is not acceptable.

Brauchler said gun owners have a right to protect lives, but not property and certainly not to shoot a fleeing suspect.

“If that right to own a firearm and to carry it one their person is abused or is used to put people at risk there are going to be consequences and those consequences exist in our criminal code,” said Brauchler.

In Colorado, bounty hunters are not required to be licensed or certified.

“Anyone can buy a cute badge on the internet for $25 and say they’re a bond agent,” said Jason Armstrong, with the Professional Bail Agents of Colorado. “But this guy’s behavior is beyond the pale.  No professional agent would fire warning shots

Aurora police have not caught the robbery suspect, and CrimeStoppers is offering a $2,000 reward.

Meanwhile, Paulsen said, it’s important gun owners continue to get regular training to make sure if they try to be the good guy, they aren’t breaking any laws.

“The framework we teach to students is ultimately you need to decide if this is worth dying for and killing for,” said Paulsen.

Wanted firefighter shoots at bounty hunters then kills himself #PrivateOfficerNews

Riverside County CA Dec 12 2015 A search for a wanted Los Angeles County firefighter came to a violent end this week as he shot at bounty hunters before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.

Richard Loken, 38, was wanted on a $60,000 warrant after he did not appear in court earlier this month. Loken was charged with assaulting a woman in El Monte, among other charges.

Deputy Michael Vasquez, a spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, said officers found Loken dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a hotel room.

Vasquez said officers from the Moreno Valley Police Department responded to a call of an assault with a deadly weapon in the 24000 block of Elder Avenue shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday. Moreno Valley contracts with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

“We did locate bail agents who were the intended targets of assault,” he said.

Vasquez confirmed that the bail agents went to the hotel due to a warrant and were shot at. He said the agents weren’t injured,

Officers later found Loken dead in a hotel room.

An El Monte Superior Court judge issued an arrest warrant for Loken after the Moreno Valley man failed to show up at court on Nov. 12 for a hearing on a sexual battery case.

Loken was accused of grabbing a woman’s breast while she walked near Potrero Elementary School in El Monte on Sept. 16. Police later found him near the school at 2611 Potrero Ave. El Monte police found a loaded handgun, handcuffs and a personal Taser in Loken’s truck.

The District Attorney’s Office charged Loken with felony possession of a firearm at a school zone, misdemeanor sexual battery, misdemeanor false imprisonment and a misdemeanor count of having a concealed weapon in a vehicle. Loken pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A conviction meant a possible maximum sentence of eight years in county jail.

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Keith Mora said Riverside Sheriff’s notified the fire chief Thursday morning that Loken was dead. They were not given details and were told there was an investigation.

Loken still as on unpaid leave at the time of his death. The fire department put him on unpaid leave the day after his arrest.

A former Marine, Loken started working for the fire department in December 2005. The firefighter/paramedic was based at a fire station in Commerce.

Employee of Ozark bail bonding company dead after exchanging gunfire with police #PrivateOfficerNews

Somer Speer

Ozark MO Nov 27 2015 A 37-year-old woman was killed after she shot at employees of a bail bonding company, then exchanged fire with law enforcement before being found dead inside the company Wednesday afternoon in Ozark, officials say.

Somer Speer was found inside 417 Bail Bonds, said Sgt. Jason Pace of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, although it’s unclear if she was killed by gunfire from law enforcement. No officers were hurt in the incident.

At 2 p.m. Christian County 911 received a call that a woman was brandishing a weapon outside 417 Bail Bonds, Pace said.

In May, Speer, an employee of 417 Bail Bonds, was charged in Greene County for second degree vehicular assault in an intoxicated state and tampering with a motor vehicle, Pace said. She was out on bail, but her bail was revoked for possible criminal activity, he said.

A different bail bonding company had approached 417 Bail Bonds and Speer opened fire, Pace said. Then she also shot at responding law enforcement from a window of the building, he said, and officers returned fire. Pace declined to name the bonding company who approached 417 Bail Bonds.

Around 4 p.m, a tactical team entered 417 Bail Bonds, then left shortly afterward before crime scene tape went up around the business.

According to online court records, Joe Passanise was Speer’s lawyer for her May charges. Passanise said Speer was a good woman and a mother.

“Somer (Speer) was coming out of an abusive relationship and on her way to a better life … she was overwhelmed by circumstance and couldn’t cope,” he said.

Passanise said he recalled that Speer’s May charges were for allegedly driving while impaired and hitting a man on either a motorcycle or moped. He confirmed that Speer was the woman pictured on 417 Bail Bonds’ Facebook page.

Ozark Police, Nixa Police, Christian County Sheriff’s Department and the highway patrol responded to the scene immediately. The Greene County Sheriff’s Department also came to the scene later.

Before the scene was declared safe, multiple peace officers were on the scene, some taking cover behind cars with guns drawn.

A large military-style vehicle also responded to the scene.

Debbie Rude was on the square downtown Wednesday afternoon. She said she heard one burst of six to eight shots at about 1:45 p.m., and another burst of shots 15 minutes later. Rude said was driving downtown to go shopping, when law enforcement vehicles came flying down the road and passed her.

“I just started praying,” she said.

Employees said the historic courthouse was on lockdown at about 2:30 p.m., but County Commissioner Ray Weter said the lockdown had been lifted as of 3:20 p.m.

The highway patrol is investigating the incident at the Ozark Police Chief Tim Clothier’s request, to “protect the integrity of the investigation,” Clothier said. Pace said there were no hostages involved.

Tina DeLong is the owner of Mama’s Style Kitchen which is located about 100 yards down the street from 417 Bail Bonds. She said she was on her way to Branson when employees called.

DeLong said she immediately headed for restaurant and as she walking in, heard gunshots.

“We just ran inside and locked the door and stayed inside,”

DeLong said that because of the incident and its proximity to her business, she plans on taking a class to carry a concealed weapon early next week.


Lack of Tennessee laws causing rouge bounty hunters

Image result for bounty hunter

NASHVILLE, TN Oct 1 2015 The Channel 4 I-Team found case after case of bounty hunters overstepping their bounds and sometimes putting innocent people at risk.
There are state laws in place meant to regulate bounty hunter, but the I-Team has learned that in many cases, those laws are not being enforced.
Gene Travis, a veteran, said he was sitting with his wife on the front porch of his Bethpage home when he noticed a strange vehicle.
Travis went to check it out. Next thing he knew, his barn was being searched and Travis had a stun gun pointed at his back.
“The guy yelled, ‘Get on the ground,'” Travis said. “And so it took me a while, but I got down on the ground.”
The intruders, Mark Brummett and his wife Angela, were bounty hunters who police said had the wrong home.
“I did feel in danger for my life as well as my wife’s life,” Travis said.
Earlier this month, police caught Richard Lapenna in Mt. Juliet and Spring Hill pretending to be an officer.
“The thing y’all don’t know as of yet is he actually works for bonds companies,” said Lt. Justin Whitwell with Spring Hill police.
Investigators said Lapenna was another bounty hunter with a false sense of entitlement.
“We don’t know how legitimate they really are. That’s why he thought, hey, I’ve got some law enforcement powers, which he does not at all,” Whitwell said.
Charles White Sr., president of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents, said the organization needs to clean up its own house.
“We need some more legislation,” White said.
The I-Team learned eight states outlaw bounty hunters all together, while 15 require bounty hunters to have licenses.
Tennessee does not. Here, bounty hunters must get a background check and complete eight hours of continuing education each year.
“There is no license,” White said.
Lawmakers recently passed legislation that requires bounty hunter to register with the sheriff of the county where they work.

“That’s the way it’s supposed to work,” White said.

But the I-Team learned most Tennessee sheriff’s departments do not require bounty hunters to register.

“Out of the 95 counties, the 31 judicial districts, I would say less than half of them implemented the requiring recovery agents to register in their district,” White said.

Lapenna’s neighbor, Shane Smith, said he walked around with a sidearm on his leg.

Police found Lapenna with a tactical vest, night vision goggles, a pistol, shotguns, ammo and handcuffs in a white van across the street from Smith.

“I mean, I guess that means I could just get a gun and start,” Smith said. “That’s just not right. That makes no sense whatsoever.”

Officials at Rutherford and Davidson counties said they do require bounty hunters to register. Wilson County officials said they do not.

In Williamson County, bounty hunters are not required to register, but they are required to come in with a copy of the bond and show it before they go and pick up a suspect.


Bounty hunters with guns arrested at Henrico High School

Randall Plummer (left), David Wheatley (right)

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. Sept 30 2015— Two bounty hunters have been charged with possessing a firearm on school property in Henrico County.

Police said on Aug 27 at 10:00 a.m. two men entered the property of Henrico High School to locate a subject who had an outstanding warrant.

While on school property both male subjects were in possession of firearms. In addition, one of the male subjects vandalized a vehicle.

Subsequent to an investigation police has charged Randall Plummer with possession of a firearm on school property, trespassing and vandalism and charged David Wheatley with trespassing, brandishing of a firearm and possession of a firearm on school property.


Bounty Hunter Set Up Rivals with False Tip Leading Them to Phoenix Police Chief’s Home

Bounty Hunter Set Up Rivals with False Tip: Cops

Phoenix AZ Aug 23 2015 A rivalry between bounty hunters is to blame for the raid on the home of Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahner earlier this month, police said Thursday.

Authorities arrested 28-year-old Aaron Bray for allegedly giving the rival group of 11 bounty hunters a false tip that led them to mistakenly target the official’s home, ABC News reports.

Bray allegedly used a “burner” app on his cell phone to text the rival bounty hunters the fake lead. He was arrested on suspicion of computer tampering for reckless use to engage in a scheme, according to The Huffington Post.

“It was pretty much in reckless disregard of everyone’s safety, from the chief’s to the bounty hunters that were sent to the home that night, and he is looking at a … felony,” Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump said.

Brent Farley, owner of NorthStar Fugitive Recovery in Mesa, was arrested earlier this month after he and members of his team, as well as members of Colorado-based Delta One Tactical Recovery, raided the chief’s home looking for a fugitive wanted on drug charges.

Yahner’s girlfriend ended up calling police after the bounty hunters woke them up by banging on the front door and shining lights into the home.

A sleepy Yahner answered the door, clad only in his underwear. The bondsmen initially challenged him, but their mistake was quickly revealed: Yahner is a slim white man, and the suspect they were looking for is 310 lbs. and black.

Farley, 43, was arrested and charged with one count each of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing for the incident. He has retained an attorney and plans to file a lawsuit against Bray, according to Fox10 Phoenix.

Reality show bounty hunter arrested for allegedly embezzling $18k


Orange County CA Feb 28 2015 A reality show bounty hunter was arrested today for allegedly stealing $18,000 from a woman who bailed her son out of jail.
According to Roxi Fyad of Orange County District Attorney’s Office, a woman identified only as Joan S. contacted a bail bonds company in connection with her son’s arrest on Feb. 8, 2013, and consequently met Arturo Alfred Torres.
Torres and a bail agent bailed out the woman’s son and then drove him to his mother’s home in Orange County where Torres demanded a $20,000 check be made out to him personally, Fyad said.
Torres accepted the check from the woman and deposited the money into his account, Fyad said.
No charges were filed against the woman’s son and on March 21, 2013, his bail was exonerated. Torres is accused of refusing to return the money to the woman, despite her repeated attempts to have it returned, Fyad said.
The woman reported to the theft to the California Department of Insurance on Feb. 13, 2014, which investigated the case, said Nancy Kincaid, the department’s press secretary.
Torres might have been entitled to keep $2,000 of the $20,000, so he was accused of embezzling $18,000, Kincaid said.
Torres was arrested in his Winnetka home today.
If convicted of a felony count of grand theft by embezzlement, the 52- year-old Torres could face a jail sentence of up to three years, Fyad said.
Torres appeared on the reality show “Bounty Wars” on Discovery.
“Torres’ alleged theft of more than $18,000 from an innocent victim is reprehensible,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Licensed bail agents and bounty hunters have an obligation to follow the letter of the law and I will bring to justice those that do not.”

Bounty Hunter Admits Role in Conspiracy, Bribery Scheme


Jersey City NJ Jan 111 2015 New Jersey authorities say a bounty hunter has admitted his role in a scheme to have sheriff’s officers sign false documents so he could collect additional fees by claiming to capture fugitives who had already been apprehended.
Acting state Attorney General John Hoffman says 50-year-old Adel Mikhaeil, a former Jersey City resident who now lives in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Wednesday to eleven counts, including conspiracy, bribery and official misconduct.
The pleas came as Mikhaeil was about to stand trial, and he now faces a lengthy prison term when he’s sentenced Feb. 9. Hoffman said it was an open plea, meaning his office didn’t agree to recommend a particular sentence.
Mikhaeil paid the two sheriff’s officers for their assistance. Both have pleaded guilty to official misconduct and are awaiting sentencing.
Hoffman said Mikhaeil conspired with the officers to have them sign false “body receipts,” indicating that he had caught fugitives, when they had already been arrested by law enforcement. As a result, Mikhaeil collected higher fees from the insurance companies that insured the fugitives’ bail bonds.
Bounty hunters receive a fee for a “paper transfer” when they locate a fugitive who is already in custody, but that fee is lower than the amount they would get for a physical apprehension.
The false body receipts also led to a reduction in the amount of bail forfeited, resulting in savings for the bail bond insurers but a loss to the counties where the fugitive jumped bail and the state, which divide forfeited funds.
Mikhaeil also admitted paying bribes to an insurance company executive and an employee of a company that locates fugitives for bail bond insurers in return for giving him more business.

Shreveport bail agent arrested for shooting at fleeing suspect


Justin Avery (Source: Shreveport Police Department)
SHREVEPORT, LA Jan 8 2015           
A bail bonds agent is behind bars after a shooting in west Shreveport.
Police were called to the 2700 block of Hollywood Avenue just before 11:00 Monday night on reports of gunshots being fired in the area.
When officers arrived, they found out that two men allegedly working for a bail bonding agency had reportedly been chasing a wanted suspect when at least one of the men fired a shot at the suspect. Authorities detained the two bonding agents as well as the suspect they were after.
Responding officers seized a shotgun. No one was injured but police say the suspect’s car was damaged.
Detectives arrested 27-year-old Justin Avery and charged him with one count of illegal use of a weapon.
James Mayo, 33, was also arrested on two outstanding warrants, one for domestic abuse battery and the other for criminal property damage.
Both men were booked into the Shreveport City Jail.

Louisiana jail refuses to take bounter hunter’s prisoner


CHALMETTE, La. Dec 10 2014A man wanted in St. Bernard Parish on numerous outstanding warrants was captured in Alabama over the weekend by a bounty hunter, but when the fugitive recovery agent brought the suspect back to Southeast Louisiana, he claims jail officials refused to take the defendant.
“We sat there for like two hours trying to figure out why they weren’t taking him,” said Wayne Lozier.
Lozier with Bayou Boys Fugitive Recovery is a hired bounty hunter, tasked with locating wanted fugitives and ensuring they make their court appearance, in turn he receives a monetary reward from the courts.
On Saturday Lozier and his partner traveled to Alabama and captured Edward Dotson, wanted for felony domestic abuse and other attachments out of St. Bernard. Lozier claims jail officials in St. Bernard refused to give him a proper explanation as to why they couldn’t take Dotson into custody.
“We left with so many questions,” said Lozier. “And with Dotson, he’s dangerous to the community, he’s dangerous to anybody and they just wouldn’t take him.”

After making some phone calls, the New Orleans Police Department agreed to arrest Dotson and take him into custody, only to transfer him to St. Bernard Parish the next day where he was booked on numerous attachments.
According to a jail spokesperson, they refused to take Dotson initially, because he didn’t have the proper paperwork following a supposed seizure he suffered during transport, and because, at the time, he appeared to be under the influence.

“Claimed he had a seizure in my vehicle, so we had to stop at Slidell Memorial Hospital where the doctors there cleared him and said he was faking his illness,” Lozier said.
Correctional facilities do have some discretion when it comes to accepting or denying inmates, that includes, medical. But bail bondsman Steve Donnes with Statewide Bail Bonds said those reasons are becoming the norm, rather than the exception.
“We’re then in jeopardy, we’ve transported a man across two states, what do you do with him, he’s a wanted felon?” Donnes said.

Donnes said the truth is, the system is broken and fugitives like Dotson are being allowed to “slip through the cracks” and avoid prosecution.
“If we don’t go hunt them down, who will?” said Donnes.
According to Statewide Bail Bonds there are approximately 100,000 unserved warrants out of Orleans Parish and another 80,000 in Jefferson.
In 2010, New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas said the majority of unserved warrants were for relatively minor matters, such as unpaid traffic tickets and the departments warrant division was all but dissolved.

TN bail enforcement agents arrested for home invasion-kidnapping in GA



GWINNETT COUNTY GA Nov 25 2014— We’ve all seen television programs depicting bail bond agents tracking down fugitives on the run in an attempt to collect rewards.
Two Tennessee bond agents went way too far in pursuit of a fugitive…and over a traffic citation.
Kevin Roberson and Khalil Abdullah, both of Tennessee, were put in jail Monday after Gwinnett County police reported the two men kicked down the door of a Gwinnett County resident, held the occupants hostage at gunpoint, then kidnapped the wife of their fugitive suspect.  The fugitive was was wanted in Ashland City, TN for failing to appear on a traffic charge.
Police said the two men forcibly entered the home on Castlebrooke Way near Lawrenceville around 10:40 Sunday morning.  As the bond agents entered the house, the fugitive jumped out a window and fled.
The agents then searched the house and located the fugitive’s wife, who they handcuffed and took away in a pickup, according to Gwinnett police.
Police were called and arrived on the scene, prompting the agents to return.  They then told officers they were charging the fugitive’s wife with harboring and obstruction.  As the officers interviewed family members, the agents left again with the woman still in their custody.
Gwinnett Police quickly located the pickup truck and freed the woman.
The bond agents were arrested and charged, pending further investigation, with home invasion, kidnapping and false imprisonment.  Family members had video records of the event via their cellphones, so authorities have left open the possibility of additional charges.
Meanwhile, the fugitive is still at large as of late Sunday.

NY men arrested for operating as bounty hunters in NJ without license

CARLSTADT NJ Sept 12 2014 — Three employees of a New York-based private investigation firm were charged with working as bounty hunters without a license after they tried to serve warrants in Carlstadt late Tuesday, police said.

Authorities launched a search after a resident told police four men, including one with a dog, knocked on the door of her 2nd Street home around 11 p.m., according to police Chief Thomas Nielsen. One of the men reportedly tried to open a window screen at her house before they took off.

A short time later, three men stopped in minivan at a Route 17 gas station and told an East Rutherford police officer they were bounty hunters who were trying to apprehend a 2nd Street resident, Nielsen said in a statement.

Though the men had paperwork confirming New York warrants for the resident were valid, the offenses did not authorize extradition and weren’t enforceable in New Jersey, Nielsen added. Authorities did not disclose the nature of the warrants.

The three — James Carrion Sr., 45, of Kresgeville, Pennsylvania, Thomas Avila, 42, of Poughkeepsie, New York, and James Carrion Jr., 25, of New York City — were each charged with acting as a bounty hunter without proper license, police said. They were released ahead of a Sept. 19 court date.

The trio were all employed by Garden City, New York-based Grid Investigations, according to police. The firm could not be immediately reached for comment.

“Additional charges may develop depending on further investigation being conducted by the Carlstadt Criminal Investigation Unit,” the chief said.

Bondsman on the hook for $110K after felon goes AWOL

Lancaster PA Aug 27 2014 A local bail bondsman is out $110,000 after his client, a convicted felon, skipped trial and the bondsman didn’t bother to find him.              JUDGE: Local bondsman on the hook for $110K after felon goes AWOL

Lancaster County Judge Margaret Miller made the ruling at a hearing last week regarding Dante Seals skipping his Aug. 4 trial date over felony weapons charges and fleeing police.Seals, 25, was free since January when bondsman Sylvester “Casey” Jones posted $110,000 cash bail on six felonies and related, lesser counts.

The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, consisting of local sheriff deputies and other law-enforcement officials, nabbed Seals Aug. 19 at a Manheim Township hotel.

Jones, according to Judge Miller’s ruling, made no effort to find his client.

The task force located Seals after receiving tips on his whereabouts, according to Assistant District Attorney Amber Czerniakowski.

Bondsmen are required to search for a client that skips a court date and becomes a fugitive.

Bondsmen post bail for defendants who can’t on their own. In turn, the defendant pays the bondsman an interest sum.

A bond essentially guarantees that a defendant out on bail will show up for court.

Local prosecutors said it’s common practice for bondsmen to request back the bail they posted — even when the defendant flees. And they often get it back, prosecutors said.

That wasn’t the case Thursday in Judge Miller’s courtroom.

Jones asked her to return the cash posted; she refused.

Miller noted in court that Jones made no efforts to find Seals and only asked for his money back after the task force made the arrest, officials said.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said he hopes the ruling will prompt bondsmen to take action when a client — in this case, a previously-convicted felon — goes AWOL.

“Bondsmen have obligations which go along with money they receive,” Stedman said. “But, for many years, they have only rarely been held accountable when the defendant fails to appear.”

Seals’ bond is believed to be one of the largest forfeitures here in recent history.

“Hopefully, this ruling will lead to closer scrutiny of the cases (bondsmen) are willing to take, as well as improved court effiency,” Stedman said.

Attempts to reach Jones weren’t successful.

Also in court last week, Miller raised Seals’ bail to $2 million. A new trial date hasn’t been set.

Regarding Seals’ charges, he is accused of having a loaded, .40-caliber pistol in July 2013 that was reported stolen the previous month.

Seals allegedly ran from Lancaster city Police officers when they were called to a home on East Walnut Street July 12, 2013, for a domestic dispute, court documents show. Seals also had a chrome revolver, documents show.

He has a prior felony conviction in Baltimore, Md. for drug-dealing which prohibits him from possesing firearms, according to city police Lt. Todd Umstead.

Trenton bounty hunter stays a step ahead of new bail rules


 — Veteran private eye and bounty hunter Robert Clark is ready for New Jersey’s new bail rules with technology for tracking a suspect’s every move between arrest and appearance in court.
Clark is convinced the answer to jails clogged with non-violent types awaiting trial is letting them out wearing monitoring devices that tell on them if they break release rules set by a bail bondsman or the courts.
He started Offender Management Solutions earlier this year to be on the cutting edge of America’s new ideas for saving incarceration costs while also making sure bailed-out suspects show in court when required.
“The most effective way to get defendants into court is a combination of work by bail bondsmen and electronic monitoring,’’ said Clark.
He clicked a listing on the GPS monitor in his Hamilton office and up came an aerial view of a street: “There, that guy is right where he’s supposed to be now, in drug rehab.’’
Tracking devices made the suspect an arrow that moved from rehab to job to home, as required by the terms of his release on bail.
Clark also put on the screen the 1,000-foot circle around the home of a domestic violence victim and said if her attacker shows in the green area on the map, cops will pounce.
“And the beauty of this is it doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything,’’ said Clark, who already has several bailed-out suspects he’s checking on all the time in a variety of ways, including a cell phone with an app that alerts him if someone goes astray.
The suspects have to pay for his services as well as daily fees for the use of the SCRAM System monitors for tracking suspect movements, as well as alcohol use by those under court order to quit drinking.
One booze device is worn on the hip. Every time it buzzes, the wearer has 20 minutes to blow into the device, which also takes a picture and has face recognition. Another constantly measures for alcohol and drugs by reading ankle sweat and sending the information back to the Big Brother backing their freedom.
GPS to keep convicts, particularly juveniles, under house arrest has been judicial practice for at least 20 years. It is only so effective.
One such device showed a teenager leaving his Trenton house, for instance, and walking to where he’s accused of shooting and killing a gang rival.
Clark said state juvenile authorities were monitoring the teen, Tahj Law, who was 15 when he allegedly killed Devahje Bing, 19, in May 2013. But he noted that authorities did end up with evidence from the device that can be used in court against Law.
Starting out as a bondsman with Trenton’s AAA Bail Bonds 15 years ago, Clark said bondsmen and bounty hunters are vital to New Jersey’s judicial system. If operating effectively and legally, he said, the bondsman pulls together enough cash and assets from a suspect’s family and other backers to protect against a default.
If a client skips bail, Clark and other bondmen will go out as bounty hunters and haul them in. And in the future, with that record of where the suspect went while wearing the monitoring anklet, tracking down a fugitive will be that much easier.
Bail reforms signed into law last week by Gov. Chris Christie cleared the way for judges to keep violent offenders in jail on high or no bail in return for easy or no-cash bail for poor lesser offenders.
Proponents of the new law contend it’s a way to save on the cost of housing suspects awaiting trial — sometimes for years — and helps families by setting breadwinners free to work and pay their bills, including lawyer and bail costs.
Jersey’s new law also is modeled on the federal system, which also is leaning away from locking up non-violent offenders awaiting trial on constitutional grounds.
In a bail hearing on the day Christie signed the new law, defense lawyer John Furlong told a Mercer County Superior Court judge that Jersey courts should set up “pre-trail services’’ sections as in the federal system for pairing suspects with people willing to take responsibility for getting them to court.
One prosecutor scoffed at that idea, saying the federal courts in Jersey handle hundreds of cases per year, while state courts handle thousands.
You’re talking another huge court bureaucracy,’’ said the prosecutor, who noted also that Jersey’s jails are loaded now with non-violent scofflaws who have been locked up repeatedly for failing to show in court.
Whatever the future, high-tech bail bondsmen and bounty hunters like Clark, 47, are likely to be part of it, as Jersey moves away from incarceration and looks for new ways to make sure defendants show for trial.
Far from putting bail bondsmen out of business, as some feared, the new law cleared the way for an expansion of Clark’s Offender Management Services and before long, he said, probably plenty of competitors.
To set up OMS, Clark said it cost him $30,000 in monitoring equipment that he figures to be using for years to come because of crime being like death and taxes.

Convicted Iowa murderer captured by bounty hunter after fleeing


David Flores back in custodyDES MOINES, Iowa June 2 2014The man convicted of the murder of Phyllis Davis 17 years ago is back in custody after eluding authorities and being wanted for the past eight months.
David Flores walked out of prison a free man after his murder conviction was overturned. But he continued to have confrontations with family members and others and was arrested several times. Last year, a warrant was issued for his arrest for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, but Flores went into hiding.
Des Moines police confirm that a bounty hunter captured Flores a few days ago in Arizona and brought him back to Des Moines. Flores was booked into the Polk County jail at 1:47 Saturday morning.
“It’s good to have him back into custody again,” said Lt. Brent Long of the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. “The bondsman, of course, they’ve been tracking him for quite some time and it’s always good to get these things resolved as quickly as possible. And he has been gone for quite some time.”
Flores was initially convicted of the drive-by shooting death of Phyllis Davis, who was leaving her job in downtown Des Moines when a stray bullet hit her while driving near Ninth and University in 1996. He always maintained his innocence and claimed someone else was involved in the rolling gang fight that led to Davis being killed.
After numerous appeals, his case was overturned. Polk County authorities were attempting to re-try Flores on suspicion of first-degree murder last year when they reached a deal for Flores to accept an Alford plea, which means Flores admitted there was enough evidence to convict him but he did not admit his guilt.
The court sentenced Flores to time already served and he walked out of prison a free man.
At the time of his sentencing, Flores told the court, “I’ve been fighting for my freedom for 17 years.”  He also said, “I already lost my 20s and I have already lost half of my 30s and I’m not giving them anymore.”
But Flores’ time as a free man was short-lived. He had several physical confrontations with people which resulted in his arrest on several occasions.
After his girlfriend was assaulted, Flores went into hiding. Des Moines police suspected he had left town.
David Flores’ mother, Diane Flores, said this arrest brings her back to horrible memories.
“I felt terrible,” Diane Flores said. “It’s like going through it all over again.”
Diane Flores said she spoke to her son Sunday morning.
“I said, ‘Why did you run?’ He says, ‘Mama, I was scared when they said imprisonment that’s life in prison,’” Diane Flores said.
Despite David Flores’ criminal history, Diane Flores said she hopes her son receives one more chance. She said he is not the monster that some people think he is.
“I’m not giving up on David, but if he does get another chance, it’s a blessing. But one, two, three strikes you’re out. And that’s the way I feel,” Diane Flores said.
He’s currently in the Polk County jail facing a number of charges, including assault with physical injury, domestic abuse, harassment, false imprisonment, violation of a no-contact order, and failure to appear.

Outdated New Orleans system makes it hard for bounty hunters


NEW ORLEANS LA May 15 2014 — Roland Johnson was looking at 20 years or more behind bars as a multiple offender when he skipped town on a New Orleans marijuana distribution charge.
Accused car thief Donald Ferguson missed court, then disappeared back into the shadows as a semi-homeless drifter.
Daniel Ponder, facing 24 counts of possession of child pornography that allegedly included torture scenes, left the state and went deep into hiding, leaving only a sporadic social media trail behind him.
These fugitives had one thing in common, and that thing would ultimately lead to their capture: A modern-day bounty hunter named Matt Dennis.
“We live in a modern technology society. You cannot hide. It’s stupid to try to hide,” said Dennis, who sports a crew cut and old-school blue ink tattoos, but tackles his job like a computer geek.
Dennis, with Steve’s Bail Bonds, is responsible for making sure his clients appear in court after posting bail on their behalf. Most do. But when they skip, he has 180 days to find them. If he doesn’t, he has to fork over their full bond amount to the court.
And no bail agent wants to pay.
“He has to go court. That’s the only thing I’m in this for. If he doesn’t go to court, then I have to make him go to court,” Dennis said.
Unlike the popular depiction of bounty hunters as tattooed tough guys banging down doors, today’s fugitive recovery agents are far more likely to do their work with a laptop and cell phone than a battering ram and handcuffs.
Steve Adams, owner of No. 1 Bail Bonds, said bounty hunting muscle is only as effective as the cutting edge technology that supports it.
“The criminals, as they get smarter doing their thing, hiding out, we have to evolve as well,” Adams said. “We have automated phone services to check on new court dates. We have access to ping phones.”
Dennis recounted how in one recent case involving a fugitive who fled to Michigan, he displayed his technological capabilities to the defendant’s grandmother. She responded by immediately giving up his hiding place.
“It told her, “This is what I’m capable of doing.” Then I started reading to her family members that died 20 years ago. Their addresses. Their kids. Showing her pictures from satellites. Showing her tracking stuff from different electronic devices.”
In New Orleans, however, there apparently are holes in the system making it easier for fugitives to remain on the run.
Local bail bond companies explained that people who skip court aren’t routinely being entered into criminal justice databases as fugitives. There are two such databases. The local court computer system is known as the “motions system.” The national database is known as NCIC, short for National Crime Information Center.
In many cases, New Orleans defendants who miss a court date aren’t being entered into either system, leaving some New Orleans fugitives off of law enforcement radar.
“They’re not putting them into the system. And it makes it tough on us,” Adams said.
Ronald Boutee, a bounty hunter for Blair’s Bail Bonds, said he’s captured many local bail jumpers and taken them to Central Lockup, only to be turned away because nobody entered an attachment or warrant in the computer.
“We’ll bring him over to local authorities and they won’t accept him into the jail, for whatever reason, because he’s not in that system,” Boutee said. “And it causes us more man hours because we have to sit on that defendant in order to meet our obligation to bring him back to court.”
Entering a fugitive into a computer would seem to be a simple task, but there are complicated layers to the process, depending on the court.
In New Orleans Municipal Court, which handles municipal violations and low-level state misdemeanors, there are two types of warrants, known as attachments, according to a court spokesman. One type of attachment lists a defendant as wanted once they skip court. But another type of attachment, called an administrative attachment, does not alert police that a person missed court.
For example, take Natalyia Jones, currently wanted in several theft cases and missed court appearances. She remains free today and, according to the court and New Orleans police, nobody is looking for her.
Dennis said there are untold defendants just like Jones roaming the streets.
“They can be right here in the city of New Orleans, over in Gretna, Metairie,” he said. “When they get pulled over and they run their names, there are no warrants. Not wanted. Not showing that they’re wanted at all.”
In Criminal Court, which handles more serious state charges, judges routinely issue warrants, but those warrants don’t always get entered into NCIC.
The sheriff’s office is responsible for entering fugitive warrants into the local and national crime computers. A spokesman for that office said that is done at the request of either judges, prosecutors or – for a $25 fee – bail bondsmen. But the spokesman did not explain why so many local fugitives are not making it into the system.
“They’re not putting them into the system. And it makes it tough on us,” Adams said.
So how do the truly dangerous bad guys get caught? The ones fleeing felony charges, sometimes crossing state lines and going into hiding?
Enter the bounty hunter. Once the bail bond companies are chasing a fugitive, they almost always pay $25 to get their defendant the NCIC system. That allows bounty hunters to enlist the help of police anywhere in the country. Otherwise, law enforcement has no record that a defendant is on the lam.
“It should be automatic, but it’s not,” Adams said. “We pay a $25 fee for the sheriff’s office to put them in NCIC.”
That’s exactly the process that Dennis used to round up his fugitives. Johnson was hiding out in Texas. Ferguson was caught in Indiana.
And the man accused of possessing child pornography, Daniel Ponder, was tracked through social media by Dennis’ tech-savvy daughter, beating an Internet expert at his own game.
“She tracked that guy from New Orleans to Washington, D.C. to Maine, and knew where he was getting off a bus in North Carolina,” Dennis said. “That just proved to me you can’t mess with these kids when it comes to computers.”