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It's stressful and high-risk. "If you run off," Harris says, "the county wants the full amount of the bond. If I don't pay it, I can't put up bonds in this county."
The ads cost $200 to $500, depending on the size, and run until the jumper has been picked up. Each shows the target's mug shot, physical description, charge and the word "reward." At the bottom of the page, there's a caveat: "WARNING. Do not approach any of these individuals. Call the bail bondsman listed to report an offender."
Monroe, president of the Dallas County Bail Bonds Association, says the ad program has been wildly successful. "It's expensive," Monroe says. "But I put a bunch of people in there. I just got flooded with calls."
The majority of Monroe's runners in the ads are charged with misdemeanors. "They're sitting in their house, smoking dope and watching Scooby-Doo," he says. "They just blow it off. The forfeiters are really stupid guys."
Few of his tipsters have asked about the reward, Monroe says. "It was people who just didn't like them," he says. "They just wanted to see them in jail."
Most of Ebony Bail Bonds' skippers are calling in after seeing their picture in the paper. "It's not that they're hiding," Harris says. "They just don't take care of their business." The embarrassment of the ad makes them face reality.
For runners like Havard who face serious jail time and are determined to disappear, Monroe has a different strategy. "I'll see who is calling Mama. I'll see his ex-girlfriends," Monroe says. "They get caught contacting people." Friends and relatives who aid fugitives can be charged with a crime.
If you can change your name, get a new Social Security number and leave everyone you love behind, Monroe says, "I'll never catch you. I got one guy now who's a good runner. He's doing the dark sunglasses, big sombrero hat deal. But he has an ex-girlfriend who hates his ass. She's after him."
Harris sends a bounty hunter after her large forfeiters. "I'm not Rambo," she says. But she bemoans the lack of "seasoned" bounty hunters.
"It takes a special person to track people down and get them in custody," Harris says. "You have to have a good rapport with law enforcement. You have to know what you can and can't do. There's a fine line you have to walk to be a good recovery person."
Harris says Havard is probably not too far from home. "It just takes the special person to dog him down. "
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