Bounty Hunters: A thing of the past

Recovery Agents help bring people with outstanding warrants back in front of judges.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – On Monday, a triple-shooting in Kosciusko County left a man dead when police said a shooting occurred while three bounty hunters were serving Gary Helman, 56, active felony warrants for resisting law enforcement and battery resulting in bodily injury.

Tuesday evening NewsChannel 15 talked to local bounty hunters with DeLaughter Bail Bonds about what their jobs entail. Owner, Tony DeLaughter, said it’s a 24/7 job, and his company serves 50 counties throughout Indiana. He said the term “bounty hunter” is outdated. Now, he and his staff are called recovery agents. All bail bondsmen in Indiana have to be licensed agents.

DeLaughter said in the past people had bounties put on them and anyone could go get them and collect a reward. However, now, it’s rarely a violent task.

“You don’t have to kick a door down, go chase em down, wrestle to the ground…You can go too far, but my philosophy is that you treat people the way you want to be treated yourself,” recovery agent, Jerry Newman said.

The agents said people normally turn themselves in without them having to go get them. DeLaughter said most of the time when people miss a court date, it’s not because they are running from the law. It’s because they just wrote down the wrong date, and the situation is usually resolved by a phone call.

“None of my agents have ever had to use a weapon or get into a physical confrontation with someone to put them in custody,” DeLaughter said.

He said his company typically writes around $12 million in bonds a year, but in his 15 years in the business, he has yet to pay for a missed court appearance.

DeLaughter said bail bondsmen and recovery agents work closely with law enforcement and conduct thorough background checks on people who they will be serving warrants. Bail bondsmen have a year from the time the suspect didn’t appear in court to the time agents have to get the person back in jail. If not, the bail bondsman has to pay the price of the bond.


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