Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

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Posts Tagged ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’

What Do Bounty Hunters and Private Eyes Have in Common?

Posted by Writing PIs on January 30, 2011

A lot actually.

But first, let’s get rid of the notion that private eyes strap on pepper spray a la Dog the Bounty Hunter and track fugitives who’ve skipped court dates. That is, unless the private eye has met state regulations to conduct bounty hunting, also called fugitive recovery (by the way, bounty hunting is illegal in some states).

On the other hand, some bounty hunters are also private investigators. For example, Dog the Bounty Hunter’s sidekick Bobby Brown is a professional private investigator, bail bond agent, and a bounty hunter (he also gives classes for bounty hunting in Colorado).

What do bounty hunters and private eyes have in common?

  • They both conduct people locates (also called skip tracing). Both conduct online searches, court records searches, know how to follow up on leads, and so on.
  • They both conduct surveillances, from stationary (literally, being stationary, such as sitting in a vehicle), mobile (again, sounds like its literal meaning, being mobile such as in a car), or on foot.
  • They conduct interviews. Although a private investigator is more likely to conduct interviews (open-ended questions) vs. interrogations (going for an answer).
  • They must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. That is, if they want to be successful. If a private eye needs information from a witness, she needs to know how to gain the person’s trust, ask the right questions, not intimidate or anger people to the point they refuse to talk. Same with a bounty hunter–he needs information, can’t afford to alienate contacts who may have knowledge on a fugitive’s whereabouts. You’ve probably seen Duane “Dog” Chapman in action on his TV show–he relates to a person’s need to be valued, to the need to do the right thing. He might be built like a truck, have pepper stray and other intimidating paraphernalia strapped on like some kind of street Rambo, but his voice is warm, his body language open, and he asks sincere questions that make people open up and talk, talk, talk.
  • They must understand the state regulations and statutes that affect their work.

Wish I could say most private eyes are in the kind of physical shape Dog is, but that’s another post.

Wishing you a great week, Writing PIs

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Private Eyes and Crime Scenes

Posted by Writing PIs on August 10, 2009

This article is now available in How Do Private Eyes Do That?available on Kindle.

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Answering Writers’ Questions: Hidden Offshore Assets and Bail Skipping

Posted by Writing PIs on July 27, 2009

Updated August 18, 2012

Today we’re sharing some fiction writers’ questions and Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s answers.

Writer’s Question: Regarding PIs searching for assets.  What if these assets are set up in countries outside the US?  What if your client lives in the US, but the account is in Switzerland or the Isle of Man?  Actually, I thought tax-free accounts were supposed to be cracked down on by the IRS.  How could a wife find out if her husband was hiding money during a nasty divorce?  Can it be undetected without a bank number?  I don’t think those types of banks use regular name and account numbers like here, but I’m not sure.

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Service. The design is the same as the Treasury seal with an IRS inscription. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s Answer: Our agency doesn’t specialize in this kind of work, but we have info nevertheless that can be helpful to writers.  For starters, a lot of countries now participate in reporting offshore bank accounts.  To the best of our knowledge, Guernsey, England is still very private (i.e., not reporting offshore accounts), but in this case a U.S. citizen could hire a local U.K. attorney to open an account in Guernsey and act as an agent in that country.   Bahamas, once a popular place in reality and many fiction stories as a place to hide assets, is no longer such a financial haven–after the U.S. threatened them with trade restraints, they agreed to disclose information about bank accounts.   Another country that is private: a small country named Nevis (an island nation in the West Indies) that has extremely tight privacy laws.  Check out, which is located there.  There are probably other countries/regions that are also private, but one would need to research that.

Writer’s Question: Regarding Skips.  What if a person skips while out on bail and somehow manages to leave the country?  Could a family hire you to find them before the FBI does?  Of course, if you were hunting for a criminal, you would have to turn them in if you found them, wouldn’t you?

Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s Answer: We’ve been hired by families and attorneys to find people in other countries.  However, we’ve never tracked someone who had skipped out on bail (this is what bounty hunters, like Dog, are hired to do).  So if

a bounty hunter is tracking someone who’s skipped bail and there’s indications this person is in another country, the bounty hunter would have to work closely with that country’s local and national law enforcement, the U.S. Embassy, and any private individuals who also specialize in bail/skip recapture.  This is an extremely technical area, bound up in a mess of treaties concerning extradition, as well as that country’s local law as well as international law (including the Hague Convention).  Remember all the trouble Dog got into a few years ago (for those who might not know, google Dog the Bounty Hunter and Mexico)?  In that scenario, one man’s bounty hunter was another man’s kidnapper.

Duane "Dog" Chapman

Duane “Dog” Chapman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writer’s Question: Under a similar scenario:  Suppose a woman hired you to find a long lost love and you were able to locate him, but unbeknown to her, he had a criminal record and was wanted.  Are you obligated to tell her this information?  Are you obligated to turn him in?  I think this could make for a great book.

Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s Answer: We would tell her, and we would tell law enforcement.

Have a great weekend, Writing PIs

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