There is little doubt that fact is indeed stranger than fiction. The world of bail bonds is the dictionary definition of this phenomena. Most people know little of the industry and base what little they think they know on reality TV programs. Real life does not usually involve much glamor, pepper spray or paintball guns. It consists of hard work and lots of it. A great example of that is the apprehension of Chris Varellan.
Varellan has a long wrap sheet that has been expanding steadily for over ten years. There are outstanding warrants in several states however only one was for an extraditable offence, that was from Texas.
William Cobra Staubs received the file in May or June of this year. There a suspicion that Varellan might be in the southern Florida area. It was not that the trail went cold, it was never warm to begin with, so after two months of searching all Cobra had to show for his troubles were sore feet and a bad mood.
I am not a Recovery Agent, nor a skip tracer but I have some layman’s thoughts. Although Varellan had a ten year rap sheet it didn’t start until his mid 40’s. He was a successful business owner and family man, a far cry from a street punk. His family did everything possible to protect him, hence no leads.
That all changed ten days ago. I must digress for a moment. On Saturday afternoons I run a radio program, Americas Most Unwanted, it is about fugitives on the run but they are the ones that for one reason or another Law Enforcement has little appetite for apprehending. It is easy to be a cynic and say that there is more revenue in speeding tickets than picking up wanted criminals.
Unknown to me, while we were on air my guests were getting tips. My guests were Recovery Agent William Cobra Staubs, his cohort Matthew Todd. Also owner of Surety 3 and General Agent for Palmetto Insurance Rod Dowston. Once the program was over the three had a war party. Rod Dowston headed to pick up a fugitive in South Carolina, while Cobra and Matt Todd zeroed in on the much wanted Aris Chris Verellan.
Here is Matt Todd’a version of events:
The capture of Aris Chris Varellan was a significant one in my books. Talk about a fugitive that was very elusive and damn near didn’t seem to exist at one point. The family as a whole were not your typical family. Everyone knew where our fugitive was but was not willing to divulge any information.
My first stop was in Coral Springs after some of my operatives claimed a possible sighting and Cobra obtaining a forwarding address. The chase is now on for our fugitive Varellan. Staubs and I posted up at possible location only later to find out this was the address of one of the daughters and a residence a Sheriff deputy claimed the younger daughter came to visit two weeks ago prior to our arrival. I knew if we found the youngest daughter who had a small child, we would have a greater chance of finding our guy.
After much research we were able to discover that our fugitive’s mother never sold the house in Palm Harbor as they claimed they did. In fact, the taxes were up to date and our fugitive actually paid in September with a check. Cobra and I after our Saturday radio blog decided to gear up and head to Palm Harbor to set up surveillance. We arrived approximately 3 hrs later at the mother’s house where much to my surprise the daughter’s car and an unknown vehicle is parked in the driveway. I decided to get out on foot with one of my operatives and walk around to see if I could make a visual on our fugitive.
Inside the house. I noticed the back window to one of the rooms was opened and you were able to hear and see people walk in and out of that room. At one point I identified the youngest daughter and was able to hear her scream out “Dad” come here. I then proceeded to place my ear on the window next to the one that is opened. I was able to distinguish a male voice in the room. This led me to believe that our fugitive was inside the house. Cobra and I called in Pinellas county sheriffs office who responded with several undercovers and K9 unit. We then set up on the house in the back while the Sgt. made contact at the front door. Cobra and I noticed as he spoke with the mom when the kitchen light went out. Moments later an individual jumped out of the back window where he was met with a taser and a K9 who ate his ass up.
Chris Varellan who has been evading capture for over a year was now in custody. The 55 yr old still had some fight in him even in handcuffs as he tried a couple of times to go after Cobra who with a slight grin paid no attention to him. There was even one occasion where fugitive Varellan screamed out that Cobra was a felon. I agree with Cobra ,our fugitive may have gotten his Bounty Hunter series mixed up! There is no feeling in the world that you get when you are hunting a man and win!
There is more to the story, if you missed the last episode of Americas Most Unwanted you can catch the recording here.