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Bondsmen use boat to bring back bail jumper

Revised on: 07.17.2018 at 10:34 a.m.

Posted on: 07.10.2018 at 12:28 p.m.

By Jefferson Weaver


A Whiteville man who skipped bail was captured in South Carolina Friday after a chase worthy of a Hollywood movie.

Shawn Hale, 26, of Cowboy Lane was returned to custody by agents with Sellers Bail Bonding after being located in South Carolina. Mark Cartret of the bond agency said Hale was released on a secured bond in October after being arrested with another suspect by Whiteville Police on break-in charges.

Arrest reports from the WPD show Hale and Adrian Dewitt were taken into custody after Whiteville Police caught the two men breaking into vending machines at the Go-Gas on Madison Street shortly before 3:30 a.m. Both men were released on secured bonds.

Shawn Hale was picked up by bondsmen after skipping bail on theft charges in Whiteville.

Hale left his registered address and disappeared, Cartret said, and the hunt was on.

“We arrested this guy in Conway, S.C.,” Cartret said.

Agents found Hale in a hotel, Cartret explained, but the defendant ran. Agents gave chase, even as Hale turned to a lake as an escape route.

“We ended up commandeering a boat to bring him back into custody,” Cartret said. “It was a Hollywood style arrest. He’s back in custody thanks to my agents.”

Had the agents not captured Hale, it would have been costly for the bonding company.

Bond agencies typically charge a portion of the cash amount of a secured bond, and guarantee that a defendant shows up for court. If the defendant doesn’t show up for court, the bonding agency is responsible for the full amount of the bond. Sellers Bonding has been around since 1971 and has written more than 900,000 bonds all over the U.S., Cartret said. Bail bondsmen have wide latitude for checking on defendants, and can cross state lines to capture suspects who skip.

Unsecured bonds are a signed promise by the defendant that he or she will show up for court or pay the amount and face additional punishment.

“Many bonds are being unsecured,” Cartret explained. “Very few taxpayers and victims know that most bonds are being unsecured. Unsecured bonds have a higher risk of defendants who fail to appear. Sheriff’s deputies then have to make the arrests alone and without a bondsman.”

This can often involve coordinating with other agencies that also have a full plate, Cartret said, and a runner from another county or state can be a low priority.”

“Sheriffs and law enforcement cannot leave their respective jurisdiction,” he said. “We can. Bail agents save the state of North Carolina an estimated $2 billion annually. Accordingly bonds that we do not produce – make sure a defendant is in court —  are paid to the public school system.”

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