We have all watched the ‘Bounty Hunter’ shows that are on the TV. In fact the ‘Bounty Hunter’ genre has become the new big thing in reality TV. But just how real are the programs? I grimace when Dog Chapman comes on, Dog and his pups make for entertainment, but I seriously doubt that the fare given to the viewing audience is really reflective of real life.

What is the real life of a Bounty Hunter? Is it really dressing up like Rambo and carrying nothing more lethal than a can of pepper spray? I think not!

Real life is far different from the glitz and glamor that the TV would have us believe. I happen to know a couple of real bounty hunters, and this story might just help put this profession into some perspective.

I have not changed the article I received, other than to fix some items to add clarity. While everyone knows who Cobra is, lets just refer to the other bounty hunter as Harold.

It all started with a call from my partner, good old Cobra. ” Action man, I got a hot one for you in NJ”. ” Whatcha got Cobra” ? ” Well, I got two big drug dealers from California”.

I’m on it!

I got all the info I needed sent to me from Cobra by email. Pictures, addresses and all other pertinent information.

I took the hike up 95 N into NJ from sunny Florida. After a long drive I took a nice long sleep.
First thing I had to do was do surveillance on all the addresses that were listed in my file.

Cobra, was grounded, but he had been working hard back in Florida trying to locate The BIG FISH. Cobra had been sending me some sweet Intel on Regionel (THE BIG FISH) Ward. We had a good working cell phone number for Regionel. So he was doing cell phone pings that gives a location on his phone. Cobra had been giving me real good addresses in Philadelphia. I was going to all of these expensive Hotels in downtown and nobody recognized the Defendant (Regoinel). The problem that we were having was that the girlfriend which was unknown to us had been getting these expensive hotels for him in her name. He would keep a low profile and not be seen at these locations.

We got lucky one morning when I was doing surveillance on Kirk(THE LITTLE FISH) Powell’s apt.. At that location were his girlfriend Natalie Gracie and her daughters. I spoke to the management who stated that Kirk was last seen about two weeks prior at this location but hadn’t been seen since.

One morning as surveillance was being done on Kirk’s place. His girlfriend and children were seen leaving. I was sitting in my car watching and decided to pack a back pack with some goodies just in case. Cuffs, mace and I.D. just in case she was meeting with Kirk. I got out of my vehicle and started to follow her from a distance. She had no clue what was going on. She hadn’t noticed I followed her from her apt and into a train station. Well here is where the action begins. I walked into train station and noticed that she was helping someone try to purchase a ticket. I decided to ask for help myself. She gladly helped me get my ticket too after asking for help. I told her I was from S.C. visiting and wasn’t used to the train or purchasing a ticket. She asked me where did I want to go. I told her wherever she was going. I just wanted to ride. Boy If she ever knew that I was born and raised in NJ and used to ride the train all the time. Well I thanked her and went along my way. Kept an eye on her the whole ride to our destination.

She got off train unsuspecting that anything was going on. She was off the train and I was right behind her as she walked through the parking lot, up the stairs to main street and to a plaza about 1/4 mile away from station. She went inside a Nail Salon and as she was getting nails done I was getting my ass chewed by mosquitoes across the street in the woods. As she came out I followed her back to train station. We just happened to bump into each other again and I told her that I never left the train station and wanted to head back to our original destination. We boarded the train back and this time I decided to sit next to her and thank her for her help. I finally went in for the kill asking her if she was married or had a boyfriend. She told me that there was a boyfriend but they were bad terms. I decided that she was going to be my good friend now.

We exchanged numbers, which wasn’t my real #. I bought a prepaid phone and had a phone number from S.C. put on it. So anytime I would call her a S.C. # would appear. We became friends and I could tell she was really digging me. I used that against her. She would give me information that I needed and didn’t even know it. Eventually I knew more about him than I needed.

A few days later Jon Schutz, one of the Fugitive Recovery Agents from California came to link up with me. I told him what was going on with all the information that was given to me by her.
We decided to have Jon to go to the girlfriend and tell her that Kirk can take care of this whole matter instead of him being on the run. He would meet with us, fill out some documents and have this bond vacated. During this time me and Kirk’s girlfriend were hanging out and going to dinner and to movies. She really felt comfortable with me. In the mean time I’m trying to gauge which direction to go in trying to pick up Kirk.

After a few days of speaking to Kirk’s mom. This time my name was Gus and I was Jon’s supervisor from California. I would really convince her to speak to Kirk and have him meet with us. I did the same with his girlfriend as well. I tried to convince her as a friend that the best thing for Kirk to do was to come meet with us. Meanwhile we had another Fugitive Recovery Agent Antonio Pitones fly in from California for the take down.

What we were trying to do was meet with him and have him to roll on Regionel Ward who was THE BIG FISH.

After a few days Mr. Kirk decided to come and meet us. Wow ! Were we surprised. After meeting up with Kirk I decided to contact Cobra and let him know that we had The Little Fish. He gave me words of encouragement and advice. “Don’t Let This Guy Go Until You Got THE BIG FISH”. What our hope was he could lead us right to Regionel. Well we got a surprise when he told us that he didn’t know where Regionel was. At that time we decided to take Mr Kirk for a LONG ride with cuffs and shackles to freshen his memory and tell him that if we did not get Regionel he would be heading back California to face his three year sentence and would be deported back to Jamaica. Well after the cuffs went on all of a sudden he knew how to contact him, all of the hangouts and the vehicle that he was driving.

We had him call Regionel and set up a meeting to give him money. This was a normal thing going on due to Regionel getting him into all of this mess. He would give Kirk money when needed.

We drove around all the different hang out spots for Regionel. No luck. We did surveillance on a few areas, but without any luck. Kirk called a couple of people that knew him and Regionel knew, and Voila! Regionel ended up calling Kirk. Everyone was surprised including myself. We told Kirk to tell Regionel to meet with him. Regionel told Kirk that he would meet up with him later and give him money.

We decided to pull into Dunkin Doughnuts and hang out until we could figure out when and where the meeting place was going to be. On the last call that Kirk made to Regionel  a meeting was set up at a local grocery store (Pathmart). As we were looking at each other we realized that Pathmart was directly across the street from where we were. We were all shocked by this revelation. We proceeded across the street and we noticed a white SUV with the possible defendant. We wanted to get a positive ID before we went in for the kill. With all amazement Kirk was in the back seat of one of the vehicles and as we rode through parking lot he gave us a positive  ID. At that time the defendant was surrounded and taken into custody without incident. Kirk was taken back to South Plainfield, NJ where we were staying. We wanted to completely leave that area for safety reasons. We contacted South Plainfield PD and had them meet us in the parking lot of our hotel. When they came out we didn’t realize what we were getting into. The first office that came on the scene said he was waiting on his supervisor. The second one came and was asking us where did we pick him up from ? Why not. We told him. Camden. He starts talking about kidnapping and all this other crap. We know the law. We knew that we could carry this guy to any location and nothing that him or anybody else could do. They didn’t want to work. Lazy asses! A Sgt. came on the scene and we explained to him that we arrested the defendant in Camden but we wanted to get far away from the area just in case somebody tried to ambush us. After checking NCIC and finding an active warrant they took him in and brought out to Middlesex County Jail.

Well here we go again. We get THE call from the DA’s office the next day telling us that they want to Extradite Kirk back to California. Well one problem. We cut Kirk loose a day prior. Oh boy ! We are going to have to pick him up again. Well what we did was to devise a plan that would get him to come to us once again. Why not get him to sign paperwork again ?

We tried calling him the following day and his phone was turned off. That’s when panic started to set in. Has he gone out the state ? Did he flee so we couldn’t be found again ? We didn’t know what had happened. We called his mom to see if she heard anything from him. We  told her that Kirk was let go the night before and we needed for him to contact us so he could sign the paperwork from the night before. She told us that she hadn’t spoken to Kirk since the day we had him in custody. We explained that the day before was so hectic that Kirk hadn’t signed the paperwork. Jon one of the agents from California was suppose to make sure that all of the paperwork was done properly. Well guess what. It was. We just made everything up and told Kirk’s mom that she was still on the line for Kirk’s bond of $75000. She said she’ll try to get a hold of him. She tried numerous of times without results. She said his phone was going straight to voicemail.

We wasn’t really buying what mom was selling so we called his girlfriend Natalie and told her  that if Kirk didn’t call us and sign this document, his mother, aunt and Natalie would have to fork over $75,000. Everything had to be done before Friday because Jon and Antonio were leaving on Friday. The signed document would be taken to court on Monday so the judge back in California could sign off on the motion to vacate bond.

Now the whole idea from the beginning of this case was to have Kirk meet with Jon and have him to actually sign an affidavit, get fingerprints taken, take of picture with Jon and have a Police Officer sign off on affidavit. This way an actual motion could be filed back in California and actually they get of Kirk’s bond.

We did it once before. Having Kirk to come meet with us after some convincing. Can we pull it off again know that he felt he was tricked the first time ? Remember when he didn’t tell us where Regional was the first time we met he ended up being taken for a long ride and getting ready to be sent to California and possibly deported.

Cobra called me to see what was going on. I told him the situation and gave me a lot of insight and encouragement once again. Cobra called the mom and he had a few choice words for her and we told the mother and Natalie that we we were going to spill the beans on Kirk rolling on Regionel. Our response time started working. Kirk decided to call us. We told him what happened with the paperwork and that he needed to sign. He was very apprehensive and told us that he thinks he was being tricked. Now would we do that ? We told him that time was limited and he need to meet up with us at a local T.G.I. in Camden.

Even though he apprehensive he decided to meet up anyway. At least that what we thought. We waited and he never showed.

The following day we went to Natalie’s apt and tell her that if he didn’t take care of this paperwork that we were going to Regionel’s brother’s house and show him pictures of Kirk in custody and his brother being taken into custody as well. We were going to just let him know that Kirk was the one that gave his brother up.

We told the mom and Natalie that Jon and Antonio had left and that I was the only one still left around. I needed to have Kirk to sing, and then fly to California to court for Monday. Everybody was still here and mad as heck.

We received a call from mom telling us on Monday that Kirk was in Downtown Maryland. Baffled! Downtown Maryland? She must mean Baltimore, MD. Kirk supposedly had taken a Greyhound bus to Baltimore. We geared up and headed to Baltimore, MD.

On our way down to Baltimore taking two vehicles we wanted to confirm with the mom that Kirk actually was there. She said that he was inside the Baltimore Travel Center in Baltimore. Jon and Antonio set up surveillance from a safe distance while I pull up and head inside. I walk around the Travel Center. I walked past all restaurants stores and everything that was inside. No Kirk.

I decided to wait outside in the parking lot where the buses pull up and see if Kirk maybe was going to get off a bus. Maybe Kirk hadn’t got there yet. I asked Jon if he could mom again to confirm. She states now that Kirk was located at 2110 Haynes St. We thought she was giving us the run around. We headed to that location and long behold there he was. Let’s just say that he got the SHOCK of his life, and was placed back in our custody.

We headed back to NJ with our prisoner. We wanted to make sure that him and Reggie shared a cell together. We went to a Dunkin Doughnut shop in Piscataway, NJ. Which is in Middlesex County where Regionel was being held. Yeah I know Dunkin Doughnut shops are not eating high on the hog, but we seem to get very lucky at these Dunkin Doughnuts in NJ.. We ran into a Sgt. Smith from Piscataway PD. Very nice guy I have to add. We asked him if he would be willing to take Kirk in on a fugitive warrant from California. He said sure. We gave him Kirk’s info and he ran him on NCIC. The warrant showed up from California but it also showed that they wouldn’t extradite him back. All of us were shocked because a couple of days ago California DA’s office told Jon that they would extradite and they did want him. The only warrant that Sgt. Smith had to take him in for was for a  Possession of drug paraphernalia charge from Mahwah, NJ.. He also told us that Mahwah probably didn’t want him back so they would have to process the warrant back at HQ and then cut him loose. He said the process would take only about an 1/2 hr. What ? No way ?

We weren’t about to have this guy in custody twice let go and then disappear to nowhere. So we did what any Recovery Agent would do. What for him to get finish with the process and take him back into custody. We did just that. We held onto Kirk until the following morning until we could let the DA know that there was a problem getting Kirk extradited back to California. They immediately corrected everything in their computer system. Finally! His ass is going back to California !

We brought Kirk back to Piscataway PD and left him there. He was finally like the song says ” I’m Going Back To Cali ”

While the idea of becoming a Bounty Hunter may sound exciting. I think I will stick to sitting behind a keyboard. All of the Bounty Hunters I have met exceed my 5′ 6″ 148 pound size, so even though I do know a little more about this case, I think it is better that I keep quiet. However, if you do bump into Harold, (and you do not care about your personal welfare) ask him if he would like to share some Chicken Wings! This is best done only if you are an Olympic sprinter that can cover 100m in under 10 seconds!

Simon Barrett 

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