What happens when you have the same name as a guy with an outstanding federal warrant and who has skipped bail? In states like Virginia that have "bail bondsmen" operating, you too might find a bounty hunter on your doorstep. A literal body snatcher. That very scenario happened December 29th in Prince William County, Virginia.
According to the video "Bounty Hunters Gone Wild," Neil and Rebecca S. were watching a movie upstairs while the five kids watched another movie downstairs that Saturday evening. When someone came to the door, one of the kids opened it. At which point, the "agent" in the video came in with his gun, his badge and his body armor.
Cell phone video starts with the armed agent demanding that the wife, Rebecca, open the front door so he could leave with Neil. What happened before the video begins remains a giant questionmark.
Outside, the video shows a second agent brushed off Rebecca's demands as a number of people converged on the bounty hunters. Obviously distressed at seeing dad taken away in handcuffs, the family acted emotionally, as one would reasonably expect.
The family members also tried to block the bounty hunters' cars by standing behind them. Obviously, the scene became chaotic.
I reached out to Henshman Bail Enforcement for comment and spoke with the company's owner. Right off, he said his phone hasn't stopped ringing since the video came out. He described lots and lots of threats and hate-filled callers from the YouTube/Internet lynch mob. There's not a lot of love out there for bounty hunters, he admitted.
Soon, I learned the other half of the story. The actual fugitive, Neil S., has a federal warrant for a number of outstanding charges including theft and identity theft. The Henshman company hired a couple of trained and certified bail enforcement agents who picked up the Mr. S. in the video on the bail bond. (I have the last name, but am withholding it to protect the family in the video.)
It turns out that the Neil S. with the outstanding warrant not only shared the same first and last name as the homeowner, but the two resemble each other as well. The fugitive had also stolen the identity of the innocent homeowner. Additionally, the two Neils share the same bloodline as cousins. Complicated enough for ya, yet?
Of course, the YouTube video shows what happened after the bail enforcement agent entered the house and took custody of Mr. S. (without incident). From there, the video paints a pretty unflattering portrayal of the bounty hunters' handling of the confusing scene.
The Henshman head honcho said his people confirmed the warrant with Prince William County police before going out that night. At the house, homeowner Neil S. reportedly acted cooperatively, but the large number of animated people made the bail bondsmen uncomfortable.
So for their own safety, they took Mr. S. about ten minutes away, looked over his identification and confirmed they had the wrong guy. Prince William County law enforcement knew about the attempted fugitive apprehension detail the entire time.
Once they confirmed that they had the wrong Neil S., the agents drove Mr. S. back home and dropped him off with an explanation and an apology. The company's owner said the bondsmen would have apologized to the family as well, but the man's family didn't want to hear any explanation.
Now, the video has started to go viral and the pitchforks and torches out. The Henchman Bail Enforcement Facebook is a reportedly a counterfeit. It certainly has garnered plenty of hate from folks nationwide. Let's face it, Dog the Bounty Hunter didn't do a lot to engender much love for bounty hunters or bounty hunting in the United States.
Time will tell what happens next. All I know is I'm glad we don't have bounty hunters in Illinois. I can't imagine things going well for any armed individual trying to force his or her way into any GSL member's home, quite frankly.
Overall, I can't help but wonder how more of these situations don't end in gunfire.
Once again, thank goodness they aren't in Illinois.