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November 06, 2006
P. B. I. A.



Bart the bounty hunter

Former police officer happy with career change


Images of Duane Chapman's leathered face, long blond mullet and dark shades from the popular TV show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" are typically conjured up when most people think of bounty hunters.

But locally, Bart Dewald, a former South Bend Parks police officer and Lakeville deputy marshal, sheds a different light on his self-described "dangerous profession."

Dewald, an Elkhart County bounty hunter, or recovery agent, owns his own business, Dewald Bail Bonds, 101 S. Third St. in Goshen. Staff Writer Yonika Willis recently sat down with Dewald to learn more about his profession.

Why did you switch from police work to bounty hunting?

I was thinking about a career change because of politics in the police department. After seeing a bounty hunter show, I found out it was a real profession.

Has your police training helped in bounty hunting?

The police academy taught discipline and to think about your actions before entering a home.

How do police officers and bail bondsmen differ?

We have powers of arrest one step further than police in regards that we do not need a warrant or search warrant to enter a room.

Are you happy with your career change?

Yes, I'm happy with the switch because you own your own business. The politics of working with the police department are no longer there, however, there still are political issues and rules and guidelines you have to comply to. The money is much better than a single-family salary of a police officer.

How do bonds work?

Ten percent of a bond is set by the judicial system. Then the 10 percent gets divided between the bondsmen and surety company. That's how the insurance companies/surety make their money. The co-signer is responsible for the full amount of the bond on the person. If we do not get the bond in time, the bondsman has to produce the money. The bond that is placed at the time of release of a defendant is basically a promissory note stating that the surety will pay for that bond.

How is the bondsman informed of who to find?

The court will contact us when a person fails to appear. It's usually one to two weeks after the missed court date, so the fugitive has that much time ahead of us. In the case of someone bonding out of jail, a family member will contact us.

What are some differences between "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and your job?

To simplify it, if we walk into a fugitive's home and threatened to spray them with mace, the possibility of getting shot or injured (is increased). We don't talk to defendants (after apprehension) like Dog does. Our obligation is to get them to court. It's not practical (to talk to them). It's basically a quiet trip with no questions to ask.

Describe your job.

It's like any other job. It gets repetitious. The only difference is that you're doing the same scenario, however, you don't know how or when it's going to end, and that is pretty much the thrill of the chase.

Do you stake out a residence before apprehending a fugitive?

I normally go out at night and will look inside the house from outside as best we can.

What types of dangers have you been put in?

I've been in situations before where the defendant will flee and I'd have to struggle with the person. I've had family members try to take my gun from my holster. I've been threatened to be shot at. ... They try to run. A lot of them will reach for weapons such as knives, guns, anything else within reach. This job is dangerous. I guess you could say I've been lucky.

What are the range of offenses a fugitive gets picked up for?

Anything from operating while suspended, public intoxication, rape, battery, domestic battery, and leaving the scene of accidents, all the way to attempted murder. Murder has no bond.

How do you think you received most of your experience?

After gaining (knowledge) from chasing Hispanic people -- the ones that can falsify their identities -- I used the same tactics (I used to locate Hispanics) to locate people who are legally registered in this country. ... I've become more successful because of that training. As of four months ago, I no longer will bond out Hispanics because of their nature of high flight risk.

Do many people lose interest in bounty hunting?

There's very little money in recovery work. Most bondsmen choose to do their own recovery work because of liabilities, and most have no prior experience in law enforcement work and military.



Calling Cards

Calling Cards catch the big one!!  In our bag of tricks we soon learn nothing works all the time.  But one thing that has consistently worked for me is the Calling Cards.  Sending the calling cards to the Target or his family and wait to see where they are calling, makes the hardest skip and easy prey.  

We had a little gang banging murderer that had fled from Houston and after setting up surveillance on his wife, we soon determined that our Target was not there.  So we sent the calling card to the wife and in short time she was trying to complete a call into Mexico.  

Because our Target was an American citizen, armed with his a copy of his birth certificate we approached the Mexican Authorities.  They took a search warrant to the phone company and we got an address.   The rest is history.  They took him to the border and kicked him out of the Country of Mexico and we were there to receive him.

Payday was a sweet day

Billy Wells

Bondsman says Conley only concerned about justice when it suits her


Tuesday, July 11, 2006


By Lawrence Smith - Parkersburg Bureau


PARKERSBURG - Despite claiming she is serving justice by being cautious to bring an indictment in a Mason County forgery case, a Parkersburg bondsman says Wood County prosecutor Ginny Conley created an injustice in her haste to have him convicted on bogus charges.

Last month, Conley, who is serving as a special prosecutor investigating allegations Point Pleasant attorney Raymond G. Musgrave forged a settlement check owed his client Danny R. Westmoreland, said she's yet to determine whether to seek an indictment because all the evidence she has is based on "speculation and conjecture." Bringing an indictment against Musgrave at this point in the investigation, Conley says, which is in its 16th month, is "not serving justice."

However, Edward D. "Ed" Rempel, a Parkersburg bail bondsman, says Conley wasn't so concerned about justice seven years ago. In the course of 14 months, Rempel said Conley twice attempted to convict him on charges stemming from his arrest of a bail fugitive, a matter in which he had more than sufficient legal authority.


Tracking a fugitive from Virginia

Rempel's run-in with Conley started, he says, in April 1999 when a bail enforcement agent from Virginia Beach called his mother, Pauline O. Rempel, asking if she would find, apprehend and deliver to him a man who skipped bail and was believed to be in the Parkersburg-area. Pauline assigned the task to Ed who typically handles enforcement of bail contracts for their firm, POR Enterprises, a private investigation and bail bonding company.

Upon receiving the bailpiece, Ed says about 10 days later he confirmed the fugitive, George L. Carpenter, Jr. was in Parkersburg. According to Rempel, Carpenter, who skipped on a $4,000 bond, was residing with his stepfather, Jerry Chesseman.

Instead of attempting to affect an arrest at Cheeseman's home, Rempel says he decided to capture Carpenter in a public place. That opportunity, Rempel said, came on April 29, 1999 when Carpenter, Cheeseman and Mark William Smith stopped in at the now demolished Exxon on U.S. 50 off the I-77 Interstate exit.

"When I made my positive ID, that's when I made my arrest," Rempel said.

As he observed the trio changing tires on a car in the Exxon's parking lot, Rempel says he approached them with a 12-guage shotgun, ordered them to the ground and informed them he was placing Carpenter under arrest to return him to Virginia Beach. His arrest of Carpenter went without incident, Rempel said.


Accused of Kidnapping

However, Rempel says Chesseman talked him into letting he and Smith go so as to get Carpenter a change of clothes for his trip. Instead, they left to call police, and accuse him of attempted kidnapping, Rempel said.

While waiting for Cheeseman and Smith to return, Rempel said several cruisers from the Wood County Sheriff's Department arrived on the scene. Since deputies knew him, Rempel said he was not placed under arrest, but asked to remain at the scene until they could assess the situation. Among the people with whom they conferred was Conley, Rempel said.

According to Rempel, Conley said she was unaware of any laws he may have broken. However, Conley asked police to get a signed statement from Rempel assuring Carpenter would be returned unharmed to Virginia Beach.

Rempel complied, and had Pauline transport Carpenter to Virginia Beach. As far as he was concerned, Rempel said, the matter was closed.

"She said she [Conley] would take care of it," Rempel said.

However, 17 days later, Ed said he received a call from Pauline informing him of a warrant that was sworn out for his arrest by Sheriff's Deputy B.A. Pickens. After calling to confirm the warrant was valid, Ed says he turned himself into the Sheriff's Department.

Rempel was arraigned on felony charges of wanton endangerment with a firearm stemming from his arrest of Carpenter (Wood County Magistrate Court, Case No. 99-F-128). He was released after posting $2,000 bail.

Fearing he would not receive adequate counsel from local attorneys, Rempel said he hired Charleston attorney James Cagle to defend him.


130-year old legal precedent

The defense they used against the charges, Rempel said, is the standard used by bail enforcers in making arrests of bail fugitives. In the case of Taylor v. Taintor (83 U.S. 366), the U.S. Supreme Court in 1872 granted broad arrest powers to bondsmen, which Rempel says, applies directly to his case.

In Taylor, the Court in a 4-3 decision affirmed the decision by the Supreme Court of Connecticut that bondsmen retain custody of a subject even when he may have fled to another jurisdiction, and convicted on other charges. In his majority opinion, Justice Noah Swayne said bondsmen may use any means necessary to pursue and apprehend a person who skipped bail.

"When bail is given," Swayne wrote, "the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done.

"They may exercise their rights in person or by agent," Swayne continued. "They may pursue him into another State; may arrest him on the Sabbath; and, if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of new process. None is needed. It is likened to the re-arrest by the sheriff of an escaping prisoner.


One set of charges dismissed; indictments handed down on others

Despite having broad arrest powers, Rempel says he's careful to use only the amount of force necessary to affect an arrest, including the display and use of a firearm. The use of a shotgun when arresting Carpenter was necessary, Rempel said, because he was with two other people who could have used the tire irons as weapons.

On Aug. 10, 1999, Wood County Magistrate Charles Plum granted a motion by Conley to dismiss the wanton endangerment charges against Rempel. Though at the time she declined to be specific, Conley said more time was needed to investigate the case.

On Jan. 14, 2000, Rempel was indicted on three misdemeanor counts of brandishing and unlawful acts with a firearm by the Wood County grand jury (Wood County Circuit Court, Case No. 00-M-1). The indictments were brought, Rempel says, partly as an attempt by Conley to discredit him in the civil suit he filed on Nov. 10, 1999 against Pickens for false arrest (Wood County Circuit Court, Case No. 99-C-508).

"It was a politically motivated thing," Rempel said.

However, Rempel was successful in getting the brandishing charges dismissed. On July 3, Wood County Circuit Judge George W. Hill agreed that Rempel's actions fell within the powers outlined in the Taylor decision.

"This is an unusual case," Hill said, according to court transcripts. "But from my research, the bail bondsman has extraordinary powers, more than a police officer.

"He can enter a home without a search warrant. He can arrest without a warrant. And it just far exceeds what a police officer can do. And I don't think that a police officer could be charged criminally for this behavior," Hill added.

According to transcripts, Conley was caught off-guard by Hill's intent to dismiss the charges, and attempted to object to his findings. However, Hill stood firm in his ruling.

Conley: "So those are the findings, Your Honor?

The Court: "Yes, ma'am."

Conley: And also - so I guess I am understanding - because I know - I mean, this issue will come up. You are saying that bondsmen can pull guns on people to apprehend them, even …"

The Court: "I am not saying anything except this indictment is not valid."

Conley: "Okay."

The Court: "I am not saying anything beyond that."

Conley: "I guess I - I am sorry."

Conley, who declined to comment for this story, sparred with Hill one last time when she announced her intentions to refile an indictment against Rempel.

Conley: "I just want to make sure our objection, and we will be filing a writ on the record because it is contrary to what the grand jury was advised, Your Honor."

The Court: "Well, I don't care. You present these things to the grand jury."

Conley: "Thank you, Your Honor."

The Court: "Maybe I was wrong when I approved that instruction to the grand jury. I don't know. That is not the issue here."

Despite her intentions to refile an indictment, Conley, who was up for re-election in 2000, quietly let the matter rest. Hill later dismissed Rempel's civil suit against Pickens on July 26, 2000.


A learning experience

Since the dismissal of the case, Rempel says he continues to arrest bail fugitives, though he is extra careful to display a firearm. As the case prior to his arrest of Carpenter, Rempel said all arrests have gone without incident.

Despite having to shell out $10,000 in legal fees, Rempel, 42, is philosophical about the attempts Conley made to prosecute him. Hopefully, Rempel says, police and prosecutors will see the positive role bondsmen and bail enforcement agents play in the criminal justice system.

"I feel there needs to be more training for prosecutors and police departments on the rights of bondsmen," Rempel said.

September 8, 2006

Judge yanks gun permit for bounty hunter

A Superior Court judge on Thursday revoked a Parsippany resident's permit to carry a handgun, finding that the man failed to disclose in his application permit that he was involved in capturing fugitives, or "bounty-hunting."


Judge Salem Vincent Ahto, sitting in Morristown, revoked the handgun-carrying permit that both he and Parsippany police approved in May for Augustis Grimanis, 40, based upon his statements that he worked for a Union-based company as an armed escort for jewelry couriers and ATM technicians.

Grimanis had first applied to Parsippany's police chief for a carry permit in early 2005 and was denied after he disclosed that he ran a company that provided personal protection and went after bail-jumpers or fugitives. In New Jersey, fugitive recovery agents, also called bounty hunters, do not have a right as trained police officers do to carry a weapon; rather, their applications to carry are judged on a case-by-case basis and they have to show a "justifiable need"to carry a firearm in public.

After the first denial, Grimanis took a job with Union-based Direct Guard LLC and applied a second time to Parsippany for a carry permit. He was approved in May, and Ahto also reviewed the application and approved it. The judge's review included a detailed letter from Direct Guard CEO Ron Padron, who wrote about providing armed escorts for ATM and bank technicians and jewelry salesmen but never mentioned fugitive recovery jobs.

Grimanis' role as a bounty hunter became known on June 19 when he was conducting surveillance in Jersey City for a wanted fugitive, Mario Garcia, and apprehended the man in a convenience store on Williams Avenue. A mob of more than 20 people -- mostly relatives and friends of Garcia -- surrounded the store but Grimanis never drew the handgun he was carrying. Jersey City police questioned his position when they arrived at the store and contacted the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, which filed an action with Ahto to revoke Grimanis' carry permit.

"There is nothing in that communication directed to a judge that (indicates) that Mr. Grimanis would be used for fugitive recovery or bail recovery," Ahto said of Padron's letter. "This is a fugitive recovery company. They're not going to get a permit to carry from me."

Grimanis' lawyer, Thomas Butler, unsuccessfully asked the judge to let his client continue carrying the gun during other jobs he performs for Direct Guard. Butler pointed out that Grimanis showed enormous restraint and skill when he refused to pull out his gun in Jersey City, even when confronted by a mob. Grimanis also has passed courses in firearms safety and the use of deadly force, Butler said.

After the hearing, Padron said that Grimanis will still have a job with Direct Guard, and that he is incensed that Morris County seems to be the only county in the state that does not grant handgun-carrying permits to bail recovery agents.

Four years ago in Morris County, then-Superior Court Assignment Judge Reginald Stanton created a furor in the bounty-hunting community when he denied the applications of two men to carry guns as fugitive recovery agents. Stanton opined that, though the men met the statutory requirements of having good characters and abilities to handle firearms, he believed only trained law enforcement officers who are accountable to the public should be responsible for nabbing fugitives.

A state appeals court in 2003 determined that any rights of bounty hunters to carry guns on the job should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Bounty hunter Duane 'Dog' Chapman arrested in Hawaii

Mexico seeks kidnapping charges

By Zeke Barlow,
September 15, 2006

The case that made bounty hunter and reality television star Duane "Dog" Chapman famous came back to bite him Thursday when he was arrested in Hawaii after the Mexican government requested that he be held on kidnapping charges.

His son, Leland Chapman, and associate, Timothy Chapman, — part of the "posse" whose weekly escapades in the bail bondsman world are documented on A&E Television Network's most popular show, "Dog, The Bounty Hunter" — were also arrested for their roles in apprehending convicted rapist and Max Factor heir Andrew Lusterin Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 2003.


The Mexican government has long said that the Chapmans broke the law when they detained Luster and have had outstanding charges against him ever since. Bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico.

The men were arrested in Honolulu suburbs without incident and are being held until a detention hearing, likely to come sometime next week.

"He arrests the bad guys, and he is definitely not one of them," said Duane Chapman's publicist, Mona K. Wood.

His wife, Beth Chapman, also a star in the series, said Chapman had left Mexico on the advice of his lawyers, who feared for his safety in the Mexican prison system.

"Duane is a hero, and so are Leland and Tim," Beth Chapman said by telephone. "The only reason that Andrew Luster's victims were able to proceed with their lives is that Duane went down there and made sure this animal ended up behind bars. If Duane has to step up because he did something incorrectly, he will."

Chapman was in bed at 6 a.m. Thursday and had no idea that the United States Marshals Service was seeking him, Beth Chapman said. "I was getting the kids ready for school, and they just came in and bum rushed him in bed."

Chapman, who spends many of his days handcuffing others as cameras film the captures, cooperated with the marshals, officials said.

"He was compliant and respectful, and the arrest was made without incident," said Jay Bieber, a deputy marshal in Honolulu.

Extradition treaties

The State Department received a formal request from the Mexican government that the Chapmans be detained under extradition treaties. The Marshals Service was asked to arrest the three men on a preliminary warrant, said Larry Burtrick with the U.S. Attorney's office in Hawaii. The state is asking that the judge not allow the Chapmans to post bond, he said.

An extradition hearing will follow in which a judge will decide if the charges warrant extradition. The Chapmans can fight that decision.

The three traveled to Mexico in 2003 to collect on a $1 million bond after Luster skipped town in the middle of his trial for drugging and raping three women at his Mussel Shoals home.

When the Chapmans found Luster outside a disco, they grabbed him and caused such a commotion that they caught the attention of locals, who called the police. Officials detained all the men.

Luster was brought back to Ventura County, where he had been tried and found guilty in absentia and sentenced to 124 years in prison.

The Chapmans were detained for three days in Mexico, then set free, then charged with "deprivavation of liberty and criminal association." The government said the Chapmans violated their bail when they returned to the U.S. and didn't sign in with the court in Puerto Vallarta weekly. The government later issued an all-points bulletin for the Chapmans, and the charges have been outstanding ever since. Chapman never collected the bond.

"We're not running away from nothing," Duane Chapman said at the time. "I'm sure the Mexican authorities will decide this to go my way."

However, friends and family members said the unresolved legal tangle was always in the back of Duane Chapman's mind.

"They were afraid something like that would happen," said Tucker Chapman, one of his sons who also works at Da Kine Bail Bonds in Hawaii.

Leonard Padilla, a Ventura bail bondsman who has known Duane Chapman for years, said he thought the Dog had simply pushed the whole ordeal from his head.

"Let's just say sometimes a TV show gives you a heady feeling, and it did not become a priority," Padilla said.

Cult phenomenon

After Chapman made headlines, some bondsmen publicly decried his techniques as unprofessional. With his mullet hairstyle, gritty look and flamboyant nature, Chapman became an overnight cult phenomenon.

Padilla said he suspected other bounty hunters jealous of Chapman's fame put pressure on Mexican officials to arrest him.

Luster's former attorney, Roger Jon Diamond, also said he's heard that bounty hunters have been pressuring the Mexican government to take action, because Chapman's actions gave them a bad name.

"He did not conduct himself properly as far as I am concerned," said Diamond, who said Luster told him that Chapman roughed him up. "On behalf of Andrew Luster, on behalf of anyone who wants justice, I'm very pleased that he is not escaping Mexican justice."

He didn't know if Luster, confined in a Sacramento prison, knew of the arrest.

Others made the argument that if someone from Mexico came to the U.S. and detained someone, the case might be more obvious.

"It is very clear that Mr. Chapman violated the sovereignty and law of Mexico," said Gary Auer, chief of investigations for the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, which issued one of the warrants for Luster. "It's certainly not surprising that they would object to a brazen kidnapping on their streets, and the guy becomes famous in doing so."

However, Chapman's supporters are lining up behind him.

"Dog is a hero to America," said Rick Fass of Powerlock, a company for which Chapman is a spokesman. "Dog captured this horrible guy, and now he's in trouble for it all over again."

— Staff writer Cheri Carlson, The New York Times and The Associated Press contributed to this report.






Mass Publication

Wanted Posters in the Thrifty Nickel smoke the one that are hiding deep.  We run a $20 ad in the Thrifty Nickel, the free newspaper, and offer a reward, and using my 800 number routed to my cell phone.  Sit back and wait.  Sometimes it takes a while for the right person to see the ad, but soon curious people call to see how much is the reward.   I usually tell them I pay $50 for just a simple a phone call telling me where the target sleeps.  ( I pay after the capture)

I once had a wanted felon that I could not find, so I ran his picture.  Wasn’t long till he was in jail and a young lady called me and said when she saw him she called the Police and they arrested him.  It really does work.

If you have a small area, you can mail out a wanted poster to all the businesses in that area with instructions to post the poster in a public place.  Be sure to give your 800 number routed to your cell, so you can answer the calls, and trap where the calls come from.   Some times it is the Target toying with you, but if he calls you have phone number and you can get him!

Billy Wells


Car Chases...... Why?

A tracking device placed on the vehicle of the person seeing your target will lead you to pay dirt.  We have the best tracking devise on the market.  I have had passive and active devices costing as much as $2500.00 but the ones I have now are small simple and mount anywhere on the car by magnets in 3 seconds.   It has a 4 day battery and you can get instant locations from any computer.  You know if you ever tried to follow a vehicle, it is sure not like in the movies.  You get stuck in traffic, speed, bust red lights and usually lose your Target.  Could you imagine how easy it would be to put a Tracker on his car and wait till he arrives to try to follow?   I sell out my units for $350 see or GPS Services page.  We can overnite it and you will have it the next day.  It is as small as a cell phone, can be placed under the seat, in the trunk, in the glove box, in a back pack or magnet mount under the car.   No wires to attach, no antennas to mount.  Quick and easy.  Be sure to abide by State Laws.

Billy Wells  877-524-0157




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