Friday, August 31, 2007

Bondsmen Charged After Breaking Into Home

Authorities say they broke down the door at an Imperial home, holding an innocent couple at gunpoint. Now, three Missouri bail bondsmen are facing criminal charges.

Authorities say the men were looking for a fugitive. But somehow, they ended up at the wrong house.

It was a quiet night in April, when Garth Myers and his fiancée Melissa Bauman were awakened by a loud crash at their home.

Lt. Tommy Wright with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department says, “The couple was obviously very scared. They didn’t know what was going on. They report hearing a loud bang. They were immediately confronted by four men wielding handguns and a shotgun.”

But authorities say the armed intruders weren’t looking to rob their home. In fact, they weren’t looking for their home at all. Wright says, “Turns out some bondsmen were at the wrong house.”

They were bondsmen working for the AAA Bail Bonds Company. They were searching for someone who skipped bond, but apparently searching in the wrong place.

Now prosecutors have charged Steven Morgan, Thaddeus Bibb and Randall Avett. They’re facing counts of burglary, armed criminal action, felonious restraint, and property damage.

Lt. Wright says, “They had no legal right to enter that residence. They had no more right than you or I did to enter that residence. That’s why they were charged with what they were charged.”

It’s taken four months for charges to be filed. Morgan, Bibb and Avett all promptly posted bond courtesy of AAA Bail Bonds. The owner tells us he’s reserving judgment on his contract employees, until he knows all the facts.

Still authorities say bondsmen have to have legitimate grounds to enter a house. Lt. Wright says, “They’re held in the same standards as we are in the sense that they have to have the right information. They can’t just go around kicking in doors without doing the appropriate homework and knowing that the person they’re chasing is actually in there.”

In addition to the bondsmen, two other people are also facing charges in connection with the incident.

The victims in this case say they’ve filed a civil suit.

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