KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City couple was inside their home when multiple armed men broke down their back door, rushed into their house and forced the wife to get into a car headed to Kansas.
The couple called it kidnapping, but the men said they were enforcing the law.
“That’s vigilante justice there,” Micha Pattison said. “You can’t do that.”
The man who organized the break-in of Pattison’s home was Adam Bryant. He works as a bounty hunter for C&C Bonding in Leavenworth. Although bondsmen can legally arrest someone who owes money on a bond, there was no bond in this case.
Pattison and his wife Marilyn said they don’t owe a dime to Adam Bryant or the bond company he works for.
So why then did Bryant, and several other bondsmen who assisted him, break down Pattison’s door and arrest his wife?
Pattison said he thought it was because Bryant was mad at him after getting into an argument on Facebook. Pattison said he called out Bryant on Facebook because Bryant had posted his wife’s photo for being wanted on a warrant for a probation violation. The very next day, Bryant broke into Pattison’s home.
“You mean an average person can find out somebody has an outstanding warrant, kick in their door and arrest them?” Pattison asked.
Not according to Kansas and Missouri law. The only people with that power are police.
So what’s the bonding company’s side of this whole mess? To find out, FOX4 Problem Solvers paid a visit to C&C Bonding’s owner Eddie Carnoali in Leavenworth.
“I got no part of it,” Carnoali said. “The guy you want to see is Adam Bryant in Tonganoxie. He’s my bounty hunter.”
But Adam Bryant wouldn’t talk to Problem Solvers and referred all questions to C&C Bonding attorney Frank Kohl.
Kohl insisted everything Bryant did was perfectly legal and that there was a bond. When we asked to see a copy of it, he told us he couldn’t share it citing attorney-client privilege.
That’s an odd excuse since a public document like a bond shouldn’t be protected by attorney-client privilege.
With no help from Kohl, Problem Solvers kept digging. That’s when we found a court transcript where Marilyn Pattison specifically asked the judge if her bond had been dissolved when she showed up for court for sentencing. The judge told her he saw no reason why it wouldn’t have been dissolved.
According to the transcript, the judge then checked with the prosecutor who agreed that Marilyn’s bond was dissolved at her sentencing. That was six months prior to bounty hunters breaking into her home supposedly trying to collect on that bond.
That incident shines a light on an industry that often operates in the shadows.
Attorney John Picerno, who has represented bonding companies in court, acknowledged they are rarely held accountable when they break the law because the victims of bad bondsmen are mostly criminals.
To work as a bondsman in Missouri you have to be licensed, pass a criminal background check and complete a training course.
In Kansas, where C&C Bonding is located, bondsmen can be unlicensed and mostly unregulated if they work as something known as a pocket bondsman.
A pocket bondsman has promised the court in the county where he works that if the person he writes a bond for doesn’t show up to court, he has enough assets to pay the bond out of his own pocket. He also has to sign a statement attesting that he doesn’t have a felony. That’s all that’s required of a pocket bondsmen.
That’s crazy, Picerno said.
“It can lead to, you know, just unbridled free for all like a Wild West kind of situation where you go hire a bounty hunter to go chase bad guys,” he said. “They’re not licensed. They’re not insured. And you would think that that kind of a person probably is not going to have public safety at the forefront of what they’re doing.”
In fact, Eddie Carnoali with C&C Bonding was convicted of felony assault seven years ago after he shot at a man he was trying to arrest. His conviction was expunged last year.
Carnoali told Problem Solvers he had no problem with what happened to Micah and his wife Marilyn since they both had outstanding warrants. Carnoali was bothered, however, by the fact we were asking him questions.
“Get on out of here,” he told us. “You’re not going to tell me about my business. You done pissed me off.”
Although Carnoali might not have a problem, the Kansas City Police do. They are now investigating.
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