About five years ago, Harley riding buddies Roe Naylor and Virgil Legried entered the bail bond/bounty hunting business, an idea sparked from a conversation over a few beers one night. Before starting the Austin-based business, Naylor had worked for another bail bond company and Legried had been a delivery driver and a motorcycle mechanic.
Today, Naylor takes care of the day-to-day bail bond business, which now has 30 agents throughout the state, and Legried continues to work on motorcycles in a shop in their building. Legried also sometimes accompanies Naylor when bounty hunting is necessary.
What exactly do bail bondsman do?
Bail bonds is a way to get out of jail, obviously. If you get in trouble, like you get a DUI or something, and you don’t want to sit in jail, hopefully you’ll see our number and call us. So the judge could set a bail amount of, say, $12,000. We post a bond for that amount and we charge you 10 percent, which is pretty much a statewide standard. You give us the money, sign some paperwork and we get you out of jail.
And then you take me back to jail if I don’t show up for court, right?
Yes. Say the bail bond is $12,000, I’ll have so many days to get the defendant back in custody. If I don’t, then I have to write a check to the court for $12,000.
Therein lies the incentive for you.
Right. But, you know, sometimes, people just don’t realize they missed court. Their court dates got mixed up, or they forgot, or whatever. Sometimes, though, we do get people that run. They move out of town, out of state, sometimes out of country.
Have you ever had to pay the bail amount because you couldn’t find someone?
We’ve had to pay a few. Any bonding company that says they’ve gotten every one of their guys, I’d probably have to call them a liar. But we have a pretty good success rate. We’ve been to Colorado, we’ve been to Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa. I’ve been up two miles from the Canadian border in Minnesota chasing these people down.
Do you like the bounty hunting part of the business?
I don’t mind the bounty hunting — some of it’s fun. But we’ve also been shot at, we’ve had guns pulled on us. I got a wife and a son and I plan on seeing them every day of my life. So we wear vests — they’re not quite as fancy as the police wear — but we protect ourselves the best we can and we try not to put ourselves in a situation that’s dangerous.
What does it take to be a bounty hunter?
You have to be able to talk to just anybody. A shy person, it just won’t work. But you don’t want hot heads. When I’m looking at someone to work for me, I check out their temperament. If they can keep their calm while being insulted, and their mother being insulted, that’s what you’re looking for.
Credit: By Edie Grossfield
Post-Bulletin, Austin MN