Monday, March 10, 2008

Investigator: It's No 'Dog' Show for Real-Life Bail Agents

Real bail-recovery agents don't use "Dog the Bounty Hunter" tactics, says a New Hampshire private investigator who's furious about a recent case in Hampton, N.H., in which three alleged "agents" were charged with handcuffing a woman and interrogating her at gunpoint.

According to Frank Abramovitz, a private investigator and former Massachusetts police officer, bail recovery agents in New Hampshire work through local police departments to recapture those who've jumped bail. They never brandish a badge, never handcuff witnesses and never point guns at witnesses' heads.

Abramovitz called The Daily News of Newburyport to press his point after reading the account of the recent arrests of Hampton, N.H., residents Robert Zucchari, 38; Nicholas Theisen, 55, a former Marblehead resident; and Jeaninne Anno, 28.

According to police documents on the incident, the three were arrested on felony charges related to criminal restraint on Thursday, in connection with a Feb. 14 incident in which they were charged with handcuffing Christine Zamora in her Hampton apartment and holding a gun to her head while pressing her for information about other people. If convicted of the charges, each could serve 31/2 to 7 years in jail.

Zamora and a witness reported to police that the three identified themselves as "federal bail agents," had gold badges, and were wearing guns while they spent 15 minutes aggressively interrogating a handcuffed Zamora after barging into her apartment.

"There's no such thing as a federal bail agent," Abramovitz said yesterday, speaking from Maryland. "They had no legal right to handcuff her. Bail recovery agents can only handcuff the prisoner they're going after. They're not a police officer; they're not law enforcement. In New Hampshire, by law they're not allowed to carry any kind of badge. I don't know who they are or who they thought they were."

Abramovitz said such actions really hurt the reputation of legitimate bail recovery agents, colloquially known as bounty hunters. He said if the allegations are true, it only reinforces the mistaken impression given by a reality-based cable TV program titled "Dog the Bounty Hunter," which follows the exploits of Duane "Dog" Chapman and Da Kine Bail Bonds of Honolulu.

"People think what they see on "Dog" on TV is the way everybody works," Abramovitz said. "I've never seen bounty hunters act like that, and as a matter of fact we're trying to get away from the words bounty hunter because of that. Half the bounty hunters I know have no use for Dog because a lot of what he does is very wrong. I've never kicked in a door in my life."

Abramovitz, 68, said he's never heard of these three individuals recently arrested in Hampton and he's familiar with the others in his field in the state. Further, Abramovitz checked the roster of the National Enforcement Agency — a professional organization for bail recovery agents — and he couldn't find their names. He checked other memberships of similar organizations and still couldn't find them.

Licensed private investigators are allowed to recover individuals who jump bail in New Hampshire, Abramovitz said. He and members of his firm, AMK Investigations, work in a number of states, including New Hampshire, Maryland and Maine.

When he has to retrieve someone for the bail bondsman, Abramovitz works with local police providing an array of information, including specific descriptions and following protocols. It's police, he said, who usually take the people he's after into custody, usually while he's with them.

"This is the kind of stuff that hurts us," Abramovitz said about the alleged behavior of the three arrested. "These guys come in like fools. You can get any kind of badge you want off the Internet these days."

In New Hampshire, there are strict regulations spelled out in state law determining the behavior and credentialing of private investigators and bail recovery agents, he said, and the same is true in Massachusetts. Abramovitz said he'd be happy to help officials learn more about the proper behavior for bail recovery agents.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In refferance to the NH situation about the three idiots predending to be like the Dog.

I agree with the investigator, there are alot of wanna-bees out there and Dog is no example to follow. I am a former Police Officer, turned Bail Agent, prior to my doing so i researched the buisness untill i was blue in the face. Checked state laws, statutes, regulations etc.

I operate out of Wyoming and have been certified through the State of Col. I also have researched into all other states regarding there regs. on Bail Recovery, this is something you just dont jump into with both feet.

However the issue about not brandishing badges, does not pertain to every state, alot of states require badge ID aswell as other means of ID, such as raid jackets and so on, some states prohibit it, So again you have to research the areas where you operate.

Now as far as weapons, I personaly do not carry anything that will maim or kill. I carry an O/C pepper gun, stun gun, ASP, and for the real bad charicters a 12 GA. shotgun that shoots nothing but bean bag rounds, and that very seldom comes out. I might point out that i was carring that stuff befor i ever saw Dog on tv.

I also let Law Enforcement agencies in the area im working aware of my presance and who im after and why, and unlike Dog and other Agents in the field I operate alone, I dont need A gang to bring someone in and unlike those idiots in NH. I dont cuff people that are not wanted and question them and i sure as hell dont hold a gun to there head to get imformation, you dont need to kick doors in either, sooner or later if your patient enough they will leave the security of their home and you can, if you play your cards right take them down with out damage to property, themselves or innocent bystanders.

The investigator is right, individuales like that do put a bad blemish on those of us doing an honest job in the buisness.

I am also found in the Nation wide Fugitive Recovery Network.

Thank God some one else besides me doesn't look at Dog as an idol. To many wanna bees that have seen his show try to mimick him, the sad thing is they have no prior Law-Enforcement experiance what so ever and they never even go to any kind of Bail training or Bail Training acadamy. They just throw on a badge and a gun and go try to catch a bad guy,,,,,,,,, Very Bad Move & not good for the proffesionals doing the right thing.