Yvonne Mason: Bounty Hunting in North Carolina

Yvonne Mason

Bounty Hunting in the Great Southern State of North Carolina

This Monday I am discussing the great State of North Carolina’s Laws on Bounty Hunting.

Again I will begin with the statutes of the State. In North Carolina Hunters are called Bail Runners. They must be licensed NC Gen Stat 58-71-40. They must be over 18 years old with no felony convictions and a resident of the state. They must have necessary training and experience.NC Gen Stat 58-17-50. They have to take a mandatory 20 hours of education in order to procure a license. NC Gen Stat 58-71-71. They also must take a written examination NC Gen 58-71-70. They can only work for one bonding company at a time which is the same in Georgia. NC Gen Stat 58-71-65 (1996)

Now here comes the big one. Bondsmen and runners cannot enter the homes of third parties to apprehend a fugitive.

This statute was added because of the case of State v Mathis. 509 S.E. 2d 155 (N.C.1998)

The defendant William Tankersley,III signed a bond in the amount of 1,500.00 with Marie’s Bail Bonding Company. He had been charged with passing bad checks. When Mr. Tankersley failed to appear in court, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Two licensed bail bondsmen, Mathis and Williamson, were employed by Marie’s Bail Bonding Company on December 9, 1995 to find Mr. Tankersley and bring him into the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s office.

The two bondmen went to the sister-in-law of Mr. Tankersley, but he was not there. They then preceeded to his mother’s house which was listed as his place of residency. Tankersley’s mother Mrs. Susan Nelson had co-signed on the bond. Both Mrs. Nelson and her daughter Mrs. Noto had dealings with Marie’s Bail Bonding before.

The bond showed that the defendant Mr. Tankersley drove a white 1990 Mazda MX-6 and that Mrs. Nelson drove a blue 1990 Toyota Camry.

When the agents arrived at the residence they were told by Mrs. Noto that Tankersley was not at home. She alleged he had gone shopping with his mother in the white Mazda. She was asked if she had been contacted by the bonding agency and her reply was no. However, Tankersley had spoken to the bonding co. before he left the house. The house was watched for several hours and at around 6:47pm Mathis and Williamson were called and told that Mrs. Nelson had returned.

This is where it gets ugly. Mathis and Williamson returned to the residence and see the White Mazda in the driveway. Mathis went to the back door and Williamson to the front. When Mathis knocked on the back door Mrs. Nelson answered and stepped outside closing the glass storm door behind her.

Mathis identified himself showed her his license and explained he was there to pick up her son.

Mrs. Nelson stated her son was not home and refused to allow Mathis to enter the house. Mathis told her he knew her son was there because the Mazda was in the driveway. She shot back with the statement that the Mazda was no longer his car and he no longer drove it.

Mathis told Mrs. Nelson that if it would make her feel better she could call the police and that he was going into the residence. “I have a warrant and I am going to leave when I get my man.”

Mrs. Nelson blocked the door. Mathis began to open the door and she began striking him and yelling loudly. Mathis pushed the storm door against Mrs. Nelson pinning her against the exterior wall of the house. As he pushed in one direction she pushed in the other which caused the clips holding the glass in place to pop out damaging the door.

In the meantime Williamson the other runner was able to enter the house. Mrs. Nelson followed them into the house and called the cops. The cops came and ran the runners out of the house and told them as soon as an arrest was made they would call them to pick Tankersley up. No call was made. At 2:00am Mathis and Williamson went back to the house flagged down a cop and the jumper (Tankerlsey) was taken into custody.

Because of this case, Bail bondsmen and Runners can no longer enter the home of a third party. The courts concluded that a bondsman or a Runner cannot enter the home of a third party even if the defendant lives there. Even though Tankersley listed his mother’s house as his place of residency the courts stated that the bondsmen could not enter the house forcefully because the house was the primary residence of Mrs. Nelson and she refused to give permission.

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4 replies
  1. Yvonne Sewell
    Yvonne Sewell says:

    The bond differs with the crime and the judge. As Hunters the fee is 10 to 15 percent of the bond. And even if it is a small bond such as 1500.00 a couple of those finds a day can rack up quite a bit of loose change.
    Usually as hunters we work more than one case at a time. So even if one pick up nets 150.00 it is worth. Personally to be able to find those hiding in plain sight is so much fun for me that I would almost pay the bonding company to be able to hunt.
    It is not so much the pick up and the money as it is the adrenaline rush we get when we find the hunted.
    It is like putting together a puzzle and when the last piece is fitted it is the best feeling in the world.
    I agree with you. That sometimes the law tends to bend itself to the criminal instead of the victim. We have gone in the wrong direction in our law.
    But- we play the hand we are dealt and hope that as John Q Public maybe we can change some of the ways things are done in the criminal and judicial world.

  2. SZ
    SZ says:

    Hi Yvonne,

    I totally love these blogs. Summer guests and work have kept me from getting to read them on time. I try to read Lees site everyday, however I am days behind and wanted to start with yours.

    The different “names” they can call themselves is odd. As is the way the laws seem to combat trying to capture someone who has jumped. This person will become a career criminal if this is what we are teaching them, that they are so protected. There is an intelligent reason for this, I just have not figured it out yet.

    If the bail is only 1500.00, how can a hunter make any money on their time ? Is it more a favor in hope of the bigger jump later ?

  3. Yvonne Sewell
    Yvonne Sewell says:

    I am so glad that you are pursuing this. Wow!! I never thought I would be a teacher. I love it. I am also very humbled that you look forward to the blogs. They are such fun to do and if someone learns something along the way and can use it so much the better.
    Thanks so much

  4. Elena
    Elena says:

    It’s so nice when the lawmakers have an intelligent and useful response to an abuse.

    Checking on something else I found several Private Investigators in WI list “bail enforcement” as services they provide. Knowing that commercial bail services are illegal here my curiosity button started flashing.

    I called the closest one and actually got him. He was just as fascinated with my world as a mystery writer as I was about how he enforces bails and for whom.

    Turns out since private bail arrangements that are not for monetary gain are very legal, he gets hired by the relatives and/or friends who put up the bond and don’t want to lose it.

    And, the law does not prohibit an individual from profiting from engaging in bail enforcement, nor does the state monitor this activity in any way.

    Further he told me, and I have verified it, to be a PI in WI requires only to pass a 100 question test with at least 70%. And, be a reasonably good citizen – it does say that you cannot use drugs to the extent it would affect you doing your job.

    This is a fascinating world – I really enjoy your essays. Thank you.

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