November 2017
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The Trace Team

art1 A Reprieve for Thanksgiving
By Don C. Johnson, CLI

In the early days of Trace Investigations, in addition to my investigator license issued by Indiana's Professional Licensing Agency, I carried a bail agent license issued by the Indiana Department of Insurance. At the time I had a partner in Indianapolis who, in addition to carrying his own PI license, had a longstanding and successful bail bond business, headquartered near the Marion County City-County Building, where the courts were located. I never wrote many bail bonds in Monroe County. It was a competitive field here in those days and in the surrounding counties, but that was okay with me. I had no real interest in being a bail agent, and my PI work in Indianapolis and Bloomington kept me busy and on the road a lot. However, a licensed bail agent in Indiana can also chase and capture bail fugitives, and I would occasionally get a call from my partner's office to help skip trace and pick up one of their bail clients who had failed to appear for a court hearing. Such was the case one cold November shortly before Thanksgiving.

Let's call the fugitive Jack. Only 24 years old, he had an extensive criminal record for various misdemeanors and a few felonies, but nothing in those court cases indicated he was violent. He had served time in prison and was apparently afraid of going back because of the pending charge that led to his flight. That charge is lost to memory, but not how I found Jack.

It is no secret in the bail enforcement business that the holidays are a target-rich opportunity for finding a fugitive and returning him to jail. Unless the fugitive is a violent and dangerous criminal on the run from law enforcement in addition to his bail agent, chances are he will risk a visit to a relative during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving or Christmas. The trick for the bail recovery agent is figuring out which relative and exactly when during the holiday that visit would occur. Jack's file indicated he...