An ex-criminal turned bounty hunter explains what that's like
Bounty hunting: It’s a game of networking, timing and fluency within the streets. And when there’s a demand for insider knowledge to catch a fugitive, who better to lead a task force in recovery than a former criminal himself?
I’m all set to interview a local bounty hunter I’d recently met by pure luck when finding a sweet deal on a couch for my apartment. The plan was coffee and confessions of his elusive and exciting career as a fugitive recovery agent.
The calls from his task force come in, leading him to a “pinpoint” on a bail-jumper. It postpones our coffee and confessions meeting — having to opt for a phone interview later instead. Though while waiting, I complete my own search and find this multiple-time felon uses his extensive criminal history to get on the other side of the law. For anonymity purposes, we refer to our source as BoyInTheHood911, because why wouldn’t we?
The stereotype that precedes bounty hunting is one where the criminal world is intertwined with vigilante justice. During our call, which is periodically interrupted by incoming fugitive pinpoints and task force tips, BoyInTheHood911 explains his most recent bounty hunting interaction, which also happens to be his most frustrating.
A task force of fugitive recovery agents once rolled thick with SUV’s arriving on scene at a restaurant after searching out a lead, he begins. The fugitive in question is on the run after picking up a felony drug charge for possession of a schedule II drug. His movement at night provided agents the assumption that he is likely a bonafide tweaker.
The agents then got eyes on the fugitive, he continues. The task force that was four cars deep, armed with an arsenal of lethal and non-lethal weapons, was unleashed. As a convicted felon, BoyInTheHood911 is only permitted to carry non-lethal weapons. The weapons ban did little to slow him down. Agents then cornered the fugitive leaving him not even an inch of space to escape with his vehicle.
“You would think this motherfucker was on the run for murder,” says BoyInTheHood911.
Maybe it was the fugitive’s pure machismo or schedule II powder, but he then threw his vehicle in reverse and rammed a nearby agent’s SUV — making just enough space to escape.
And escape he did. This was the beginning of a maddening case of a fugitive who got away not once, but twice, says our source.
The occupation is a crapshoot; one lapse in judgment evokes an undesirable end for the bounty hunter or the fugitive.
“My street smarts have saved my ass,” admits BoyInTheHood911.
If experience counts for everything, then our bounty hunter is at the top of his fugitive recovery organization. In our initial meeting (the sweet couch deal), BoyInTheHood911 exuded an appearance of normalcy with a domineering persona. He wore typical, casual clothes. He enjoys flashy cars, loud music, and can fit in to any crowd.
“People look at me and think one way, but people have no idea what I do unless I want them to know,” says BoyInTheHood911. “I’m young, I can blend in."
In addition to his societal camouflage, our bounty hunter uses his elusive other worldly skills to research the market led by bail-jumpers.
“Hold on, it’s one of my boys about a lead,” interrupts BoyInTheHood911.
I’m put on hold. …
“Got em!” says BoyInTheHood911 after switching his phone line back to our conversation.
Acting as a buyer, BoyInTheHood911 often moves his way into fugitive neighborhoods. It’s a bating game between bounty hunters and fugitives on the run. Fugitives that come in all shapes and sizes.
He divulges a list of past criminal pursuits: tweakers, drug dealers, violent offenders. But he’s also had to pick up the average Joe, too. Usually a person who skipped a court date in order to continue going to work in hopes of paying off bail before the bounty hunters come knocking. Though as our source says, for every fugitive who goes into custody willingly, there’s another who gives the task force hell.
This isn’t a nine-to-five job either, he adds, it is the epitome of “hurry up and wait.”
“It can be a typical Monday evening at home with my family … I get a call and I gotta go and who knows how long I will be gone,” he says.
Stakeouts can last upwards of 20 hours. When factoring in the gathering of the task force, fugitive apprehension following a stake-out, and surrendering the fugitive over to the local police department, it’s all in a day’s (and full night’s) work.
BoyInTheHood911 says he's been in the world of bounty hunting for a year now, and his experiences have been met with thrilling action, near-death situations and total badass victories.
“It’s been nothing but action,” he finishes, “And pure luck.”