Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Hello…hello…hello…can you hear me?…hello?

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:09 AM Permalink

…"I hear you fine, just a little faint, could you speak up?" This was because I had the mouthpiece of my phone mostly covered and holding it down about chest level.
Me: Oh, good! I'm sorry you can't hear we well, this is Raoul Anderson with PacBell (shouting to be heard even faintly) and I'm at the bottom of a pit at a construction site where they tore up and cut our lines by accident. Have you been receiving or making calls normally or full of static and noise?
They: No, every call but this one has been crystal clear. Is this going to disrupt my service?
Me: No, sir, that's why I'm in the bottom of this pit, but I need to know what node I've patched into, would you give me the number I've reached so I can locate it on my connection map? (I'll never forget to elderly gentleman who, being wise in the way of the world said:)
Him: I guess I could do that but I'd need your badge number first.
Me: I work for the phone company and we don't have badges, but if you are patient enough to sit on hold for forty-five minutes to an hour our personnel department will verify my personnel number is D as in David 46972653.
Him: Well, I guess it's okay. this is 555-1234.
Me. All right! I've got your node located, now what's your street address?
Him: Why do you need that?
Me; So I can match up the node with the correct neighborhood and cut this jobs work time in half to make sure there is no disruption of service -I've got to do this on at least another dozen numbers.
Him: Okay, I'm at 109 North B St, are you at that construction site down by the mall?
Me: Why yes sir I am! Look I appreciate your help very much; you shouldn't have any disruption at all. Thank You!
Him: You're welcome. Good luck getting that mess straightened out.
Me; Aw, it'll be easy from here on , sir, thanks again. Good-bye
Him: Good-bye!

The dialogue may have differed from time-to-time, but this scam never failed to get me the address of an unlisted number where I knew a skip to be.

Speak guardedly on your phone: there might be someone like me (pre-retirement) on the other end. Another scam tomorrow on how to get the listing and address on an unlisted number to whom you have no idea it belongs.

There are people trained by me still out there.

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At 8:51 AM, Blogger dan said...


While I have never been a bail-skip (I've never contracted to a bail bondsman), I have received calls like this before, especially say, within the last 10 years or so, mostly after 9-11.

As I remember, these calls would more commonly happen after I'd received a new phone number (in other words, somebody else's old phone number).

Because I just don't give out personal information (i.e. info about how to find me), if someone calls and then asks, "What number is this;" I ask them "What number are you looking for?" Then they say some phone number that's not where they're calling to and I inform them; "Well, this ain't that number and have a nice day." I then hang up.

Sometimes, the caller calls back asking "Does John Doe live there (if it sounds like a name of a former owner, I usually inform them that it is no longer their phone number), if it's not familiar, I say a simple no and offer nothing further. If they then ask "Then who's this?" I will then get rude and answer "Nobody you know, pig;" and then hang up hard.

One time, a previously very pleasant butt-fucker called a third time and asked why I was "... being rude?" I told him summarily that I really detest information-fishers. I'd then let him know that, after I'd initially told him that I didn't have the information on somebody else that he'd asked for, he should have got the message that there wasn't any information from me that he was worthy of collecting. I then observed to him that he was probably only some slut-pig or other crook looking for a victim. I then told him to "piss off."

He didn't like that at all and got angry, telling me that he was going to find me and "kick" my ass. I then told him, "Good luck you child molestor ~ " and then hung up (you gotta' set up a history for why you were possibly breaking somebody's body. While I've never had somebody searching for somebody else break into my home, as far as I'm concerned, THAT is a death-penalty offence, and if I can, I will hurt them).

Perhaps this particular guy eventually found out the complex where I lived. Maybe he even staked me out, but he never confronted me (that I know of).

Way back when I lived with my father in Germany (he was NCOIC of the CCT at Rein Mein AB back during the first half of the seventies), he instructed me on his definition of "need-to-know." Since then (especially with the internet), I've made that definition even more severe.

Yeah Bill, when you were in your prime, perhaps you coulda' sweet-talked information from me ... but I certainly don't think it would'ave happened ove a phone. Ultimately, it seems that you would have noticed that I wasn't an effective information source and simply found easier pickings.

Over my life, I've morphed into a very suspicious "conspiracy theorist."


At 6:14 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

Again, DanD, you have very slightly missed the thrust of my play in the matter of professional lying, which was to gather information from people in a manner so discrete that they would never even know they had been solicited for information on a bail skip, unless you volunteered info. Were I looking for someone with whom you had a relationship and was met with such caution, I'd just work around it in a manner so that you would not even be aware that you had been a source of information - such as pulling your phone bill, talking to the neighbor across the street or next door that either didn't like you or were just excited at being involved in something exciting in their life for a change. (Is there ever a blue Chevelle, kinda ragged, expired Missouri plates there? Yes? What times of day? Man or just a woman with a little boy driving? Would you call me the next time you see it there? Thank you so much. You never know when an armed robber like this might threaten you or your family.)

Never would I have been so tacky as to try the scenario you described above, especially threatening you or anyone else for that matter. It was my job, as my old boss, then partner, used to say to "work them (skips) smarter, not harder" and I lived by that motto.

I'm personally happy to hear you are now a "conspiracy theorist," as I refused to even have a home phone, skips were chased from my office. Since 1968 and the invention of the original "Belgium Blackbox," the government has had the ability to open up the microphone on any telephone anywhere and listen to any conversation within earshot. Now that capability is built into every cell phone at the order of the government.

I never had one of those, but I did pull all the little "stops" out of my multi-line phones so I could patch together two or all six of my lines if desired. Had I hit a "hothead" pissed just because I asked to whom I was speaking I would work the name of the skip into the conversation, wait until the forceful hang up, and then punch in an open line so that if you were pissed because your skip friend had dragged you into it, when you immediately picked up your phone you'd hear a normal dial tone, dial through (with me recording the tones) and just sit and listen to the ensuing conversation. But you never would have heard from me again and never, under any circumstance have been physically threatened.

This is precisely why I hesitated to write of some of these experiences because it changes people's perspective of me, even though I remain the person I have always been. I have just moved on to a new chapter in my life and admit my failings of being a professional liar for hire to make a lucrative living.

I regret that this seems to have totally altered your perspective of me and ascribed motivations to me that no longer exist. But, yeah, when i was in my prime I was a snake charming wraith getting what I wanted and vanishing without leaving a trail for anyone to follow back to me.

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

Oh, and as to braking into houses, it has been well-settled law since 1872 (and never overturned) that a bondsman could "pursue skips across state lines, break and enter a skip's home in the dead of night without benefit of a warrant, as the bailee had given the bondsman permission to do those things by a contract legally enforceable by virtue of having been entered into by both parties." In other words the skip themselves not only gave us contractual authority to do these things, but also agreed to hold us harmless for any damages or cost incurred.

Thats just the law.

At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are writing about a subject and I am simply responding to that subject as I perceive it, and not making any summary judgements about you specifically.

But as it seems and as you say, you maintained a minimum standard of how severe your lies were, e.g. you didn't kill anybody as their result and only perps "who deserved it" were your targets. But there again, this becomes very subjective.

I have always had a difficult time assuming that a moral paradigm can be maintained by acting immorally, and as far as I see it, lying to the friends and family of perps (especially stigmatizing their children with the reality that they were the premier tool for incarcerating their parent) so their bail contract could be mitigated may legally be considered "correct," but it still doesn't address how justice hasn't been the focus of the American judicial system for well nigh a half century now.

And while you say you were sweeping some of the worst "scum" like rapists and child molestors and the like off the streets, I can't see that those types were even allowed to bail out of prison in the first place.

It seems to me that your average skip perp was a john or a drunk driver (.08 or a fraction more) or the like-kind misdemeanor who suddenly found himself in a law-enforcement vise grip that he couldn't deal with intellectually.

Bail and it's collateral collection-plate venues have become a premier source of government revenue. Like income tax,it is meant to enslave it's victims, regardless of the morality of a circumstance.

Do you know that, here now in Los Angeles County, that you can't even take a parking ticket before a judicial venue? It's been contracted out to private adjudicators who run their own pseudo court systems. Within these systems, you are processed as a guilty person from the moment the ticket is issued.

Anyway, so you say that a skip functionally surrenders the Constitutional Rights of not just himself, but anybody whose property he may be visiting?

Are you saying that, if a bounty hunter traced a skip to my house where he may be visiting for a few days, that the law gives that bh the right to break my door down as a means to facilitate the skip's capture? This in spite of the fact that I may not even know that a targeted visitor is a skip?

Now, while it seems to me that you would have planned things better, how's about your bounty-hunting brethern? This is why I really do believe that bounty hunting should be a government function where the Bill-of-Rights controls. As you describe it, bounty hunting is exta-constitutional, and that bounty hunters need not pay attention to a skip's (or anyone who may have a relationship with a skip) constitutional rights.

As I said, I guess I'm just a naive panty-waist. But if I were ever on the jury of anybody who blew Dog the Bounty Hunter away for kicking their door down in order to arrest their errent child, I'd probably call it justifiable homicide.



At 2:00 AM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

''This traditional right to freedom before conviction permits the unhampered preparation of a defense, and serves to prevent the infliction of punishment prior to conviction. . . . Unless this right to bail before trial is preserved, the presumption of innocence, secured only after centuries of struggle, would lose its meaning.'' 1 ''The bail clause was lifted with slight changes from the English Bill of Rights Act. In England that clause has never been thought to accord a right to bail in all cases, but merely to provide that bail shall not be excessive in those cases where it is proper to grant bail. When this clause was carried over into our Bill of Rights, nothing was said that indicated any different concept.''

At 2:10 AM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

Taylor v. Taintor, 83 U.S. 16 Wall. 366 366 (1872)

When bail is given, the principal is regarded as delivered to the custody of his sureties. Their dominion is a continuance of the original imprisonment. Whenever they choose to do so, they may seize him and deliver him up in their discharge; and if that cannot be done at once, they may imprison him until it can be done. They may exercise their rights in person or by agent. They may pursue him into another state; may arrest him on the Sabbath, and, if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose. The seizure is not made by virtue of new process. None is needed. It is likened to the rearrest by the sheriff of an escaping prisoner. [Footnote 10] In 6 Modern [Footnote 11] it is said, "The bail have their principal on a string, and may pull the string whenever they please, and render him in their discharge." The rights of the bail in civil and criminal cases are the same.

At 2:20 AM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

The Habeas Corpus Act 1679:

In the early 17th century, King Charles I ordered noblemen to issue him loans. Those who refused were imprisoned. Five of the prisoners filed a habeas corpus petition arguing that they should not be held indefinitely without trial or bail. In the Petition of Right (1628) Parliament argued that the King had flouted Magna Carta by imprisoning people without just cause.
The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 states, "A Magistrate shall discharge prisoners from their Imprisonment taking their Recognizance, with one or more Surety or Sureties, in any Sum according to the Magistrate's discretion, unless it shall appear that the Party is committed for such Matter or offences for which by law the Prisoner is not bailable." The English Bill of Rights (1689) states that "excessive bail hath been required of persons committed in criminal cases, to elude the benefit of the laws made for the liberty of the subjects. Excessive bail ought not to be required." This was a precursor of the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution.

At 2:27 AM, Blogger Bill Arnett said... This is the link to California Penal Code Section 1305, governing bail in California.

At 11:01 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

Do you honestly, but naively, believe that law enforcement officers, especially warrant officers don't lie" Police good, bounty hunter lying scum? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Another thing, why would you expect officers ten or fifteen states away to bust a skip that had merely "blown a .08" and then boogied? The ONY way to elicit their cooperation is to be chasing the very felons. BTW. bail goes all the way back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 A.D.

I can easily see, DanD that you have no idea how the criminal justice system, and the vital part of that system played by bondsmen. Warrant officers make one or two brief efforts to reach a skip and then put them into the NCIC computer for felons, a local system for misdemeanants. Without the vested interest of a bail bondsman that felon might run loose for years, whereas a bondsman must see that they are returned within six months or lose their money.And although it takes time to build rapport with warrant officers, once your ability is established and that bond of trust formed I have had local warrant officers personally vouch for me in many, many cases of felons I have located and gone out of state to arrest. They loved it because I had no interest in taking credit for the bust, that always went to the officers involved with me and all the "atta-boy" letters, hundreds of them, could make or break a guy for a promotion or plum assignment. And they weren't swing into action for a guy who blew a .08 and none others as you so wrongly and mean-spiritedly, assess the situation.

I am not surprised though, millions of people besides yourself know nothing of the criminal justice system and the hundreds and hundreds of years of the rich tradition bail bondsmen play within that system, so I will let your very derogatory comment slide without any malice as you made it not having any idea whatever what you were talking about.

That's the only thing that really disturbs me about such a comment made from ignorance (and there is no shame in being ignorant of the facts until insults and snide comments are made), without even having made a meager attempt to learn of this centuries old relationship between courts, law enforcement, and bondsmen. Were all bondsmen to simply quit doing business you have no idea how chaotic the justice system would become.

It doubly surprises me that someone as smart as you obviously are would have made no such attempt to learn what you were talking about before hurling inflammatory and derogative remarks at a person such as myself seeking to explain how I became a professional liar, why, and to educate people to the fact that they might think they can deal with any liar, but none have dealt with one so good, as I was, that I began to scare myself with the consummate ability to scam. fool, however you want to put it, with such ease and facility that before I made any calls I I had to do was clear my mind and then, based strictly on how and who answered the phone I would instinctively string a most believable, irresistible web of lies or hit 'em straight up, "Hi, this is Bill Arnett and I work for the company on which your friend, family, whoever jumped bail and I'd like to help return that person to court so they can walk in the front door, attorney by his side, instead of you sitting in court waiting to catch a glimpse of him/her coming up the steps wearing county orange."

I don't know what made this the subject you appear to go bananas over, and I'm sorry if the truth hurts your feelings, but you really should do some research next time, if there is one, as I fear I have inadvertently pissed you off permanently, which I would consider my loss as well as yours.

Good luck, DanD, may you have a happy and fulfilling life. I'll miss your wit and insightful commentary and I am sorry that it is truth that brought about the severance of contact, not a lie, not scam, but hundreds of years of tradition.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger dan said...

Um, Bill;

I am currently using a bicycle to manage two houses. My truck is severely ill. I set a computer up at my temporary property of charge but it has taken an uncerimonious crap.

As it is, I have studied the law at least a little bit. Back from 1989 to 1991, I studied military criminal law and then wrote an Article 69b Courts Martial appeal for a friend of mine who had been convicted at Clark AB. On March 4, 1991, the Judge Advocate General of the Air Force issued Courts Martial Order number 1, which overturned his conviction and restored all rights and privilages.

However, you are right, I functionally know squat about the law concerning bailments. It's not that I believe that all bounty hunters are "bad" people, but I do believe that the institution of law enforcement should regulate bounty hunting it has been my observation that the bad bounty hunters are little better than organized crooks with a (lack of a) license to abuse.

You are an excellent case at hand. formerly, you were a law enforcer in the military. Furthermore, you were a military law enforcer that was trained to protect the community first.

When you went to bounty hunting, you brought along your "old-time" law enforcement sensibilities. The way I have seen it, many bounty hunters became bounty hunters because the were unable to qualify as law enforcers ... the lowest common denominators.

After the beginning of the year, my house-sitting chores will end, and I will be more responsive to my own sometimes ignorant tyrades.

Sometimes, playing devil's advocate may be misconstrued as a malicious POV. I have apparently been too sloppy with my own composition ... I apologize.


At 3:23 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

I spent 5 1/2 years at Clark AB and met my Warrior Woman while there.

I would say you're absolutely correct when you say that my L.E. background gave me a different perspective. Any would-be "cowboy" bounty hunters never made it into my office, much less schooled in the arcane art of lying with such facility as to be able to fool anyone I wanted, or obtain info, or I.D. the person whom would unwittingly enable me to find my skip.

There is nothing, however "shady" in that rich tradition between courts, cops, and bounty hunters that together compose the administration of justice.

The only statement you made that I found mildly offensive was the one about chasing only people who blew a .08, while I can tell you emphatically that those aren't the only persons allowed bail. There's that presumption of innocence that extends to child molesters, rapists, drunk drivers that killed six people in an accident, armed robbers, etc., as well as a list of too many other types of people accused of crimes to list.

In my fifteen years I pursued and re-incarcerated hundreds and hundreds of felons and too many misdemeanants to list. I did so by gathering all the info I could, finding the skip, and working closely with the various L.E. agencies which I have had many dealings. I'd set 'em up, they'd knock them down, in California and and other signatory state to the Uniform Code of Extraditions. And I've traveled all across this nation and set up busts for the local P.D. because when I set up a bust it went down so hard and so fast no one was ever hurt ('cept that jerk I mentioned before who tried to escape by jumping out the 2nd floor window and broke his leg.

And besides telling me to work them smarter, not harder, I inquired as to whom would be paying the tab if I was ever hurt. When I was told I would bear all costs I made damned sure to never, never get hurt on the job.

You are absolutely right that many so-calld bounty hunters became bounty hunters because that had not one chance in hell of ever making it into a P.D..

I chose the profession for the fun, the excitement of the chase (I don't and never have hunted animals), and because the pay was very, very good.

Although it is not necessary, I fully accept your apology in the spirit in which it was made. Dig into some old law cases (and even current ones) and you will be amazed by what a valuable part of the triangle that is composed of Courts, Cops, and Bounty Hunters.

I rarely felt guilty about lying to people to recapture an armed robber, rapist, child molesters, etc. In fact, when I took in a child molester I would LOUDLY declare that I had a baby raper to turn in and the booking officers would also LOUDLY tell the officer taking him to holding that a baby raper was coming in, boys, now you be sure to be nice to him.

I took so many criminals off the streets that I warned my fellow writers that most people wouldn't believe it could be so so I am really telling people how I accomplished it.

But when you reach the point that you can reflexively and instinctively know which lie would work and/or manipulate people like puppets I realized I didn't like what I had become, even though it was in the name of serving the public weal. I was one of those who did literally scare myself to death at what I had become.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

It occurs to me that I may owe you an apology as well. I think what drove me off the deep end is that someone usually versed and knowledgeable about a subject new nothing of the triangle of which I spoke that helps hold this country together. If so, I do hereby extend that apology. We've always gotten along so well previously it amazed me, and I forgot, that most people, especially honest ones never have any encounter with the criminal justice system.

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright, apologies all around! (not quite a snark, but maybe a snigger ...).

While the American system of "justice (just us?)" has largely avoided me mostly because I've never (too) stupidly violated the law, it has left some scars because I've acted stupid in other ways.

In any event, it was that very case of my friend in the RP that jaded me greatly on "the law" ... especially military law. Within the system that was being practiced at Clark AB, justice had nothing to do with who got a "fair" trial. Furthermore, if I hadn't taken on the challenge, Since my friend (who had a family in the Angeles area) had been so purposely impoverished by the military before they summarily kicked him out with only 12 day left before he qualified for his 20, had I not done what I did, exoneration most probably would have never happened.

Being found guilty of even heinous crimes by some American judicial system does not particularly mean that the convicted are guilty.

That most of the cases of miscarried justice occur at the institutional level -- at least to me -- deligitimizes all levels of a system that help impose punishment upon the falsely convicted.

Consequently, I would have sympathy for a falsely convicted skip, and because of my own experience, I do believe that a larger minority, than is officially admitted to, of people serving time (and those trying to skip serving that time) actually did not commit their crimes. There are a whole lot more people out there than you realize who have been more successfully McMartinized.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

I have seen, and unfortunately, had to jail people that were so undeserving that the vast majority of them I walked into court and requested that their bail be reinstated, which the court would almost automatically grant consent.

But military just is a cold-hearted bitch with little or no regard as to the dire effect they can have that may impact upon a person for the rest of their life.

Having been at Clark I know you are aware of the "antenna farm" monitoring all southeast communications, translating them, and passing the information up the chain of command. Every who worked their had a top secret security clearance.

I was amazed to learn that some jerk that had gotten drunk, took a sing at me (I had to virtually scream at my partner Rick Amparo not to shoot the man, .45 out, cocked, safety off and barrel three inches from the guys right eye), so I bounced him off the wall until he was courteous enough to stop swinging (or trying to) and fell to the floor unconscious. He worked at the antenna farm and I was blown away that they yanked his security clearance, took two stripes in an article 15 hearing, and discharges him under less that honorable conditions, which you what that meant for his future, and he was off the island in less than two weeks. Needless to say, after an example like that if I caught any crap from one of those guys I would ground them to the base using my Town Patrol Authority, which wasn't official, but if you violated it it was off them jail, etc.

I hated seeing otherwise good men broken for such minor offenses as showing conduct of a nature as to bring disrepute to the military, conduct unbecoming an NCO or an officer, and some really weird other charges.

That's why I never used any more force than necessary to control a situation and I cut more breaks to more people than I could possibly remember.

For you and DanD both let me break this down after a study of ten or twelve years of our actual records:

Take 100 bail skips:

85 would be easy to find (the dummies who overslept, forgot, etc,) and those people got their bail reinstated easily.

15 skips (the ones that came to my partner and I) would be from fairly difficult to very difficult to find. With those people we took no chances and the busts went down so hard and so fast they were in cuffs before they could go for the shotguns in the corner or pull out the .357 tangled in their clothing. I hate having guns pointed at me and stalling until the troops arrived, but I was good at because firearms don't scare me and I can talk in a manner than mentally, at least, was charming and disarming. Brainwashing on the spot.

Of the 5 left, three were going to be extremely hard to find, requiring pulling out all the stops, pulling phone bills, welfare, unemployment, and almost any other government agency we needed to.

Three of those five would go down hard and fast (we worked strictly "no locate, no pay") and the other two, the last 2% would get away. Most of those were the .08 blowers Dan worries about, out on smaller bonds that made would move to New York or Hawaii or so far away as to make it more cost effective to just let them go.

But back on topic, I too, have seen far too many good people either wrongly convicted, talked into taking a plea by counsel, or given wildly disproportionate sentences for relatively minor charges.

I'm sorry you were possibly mistreated by the system. None of my business, but: Article 15 or full blown courts martial?

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, my military justice experiences worked out okay. In my early days, I once got an Article 15. I finally "got it" however, and eventually made Buck Sergeant just around my 4th year, before I ultimately decided to get out with an "Honorable" (I could sometimes be a snotty shit, and I've never been good at taking orders).

However, much later during the middle nineties, because of somebody whom I told to mind their own fucking business decided to spew out bold-faced lies to the cops at the Glendale Courthouse, I uncerimoniously got billeted in the gangbanger's block on the nineth floor of L.A. County for six days.

I was initially charged with "Making terrorist threats" ... but because I refused to cop a plea and forced them to take it to court or drop it, they eventually dropped it from $150,000 dollar bail (I got O-Rd) to "infraction, disturbing the peace."

Let me tell you, I and one other "white" person were in a large dormitory with about 25 black guys and 80 or more hispanics. Very educating about "our" system of justice.

Furthermore, if I hadn't been the gambler that I can sometimes be (I was fortunate enough to actually see that I had a good PD), a weaker soul would have plead out to a charge they did not commit.

But justice? fuck that.



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