Bounty Hunters Become the Prey After Busting Into the Wrong House

Cecil Deere Ronnie Shaw bounty huntersBounty hunters Ronnie Shaw and Cecil Deere came pounding on the door of a Oklahoma woman in her '70s last week. The woman, identified as Mary by Tulsa station KOTV, was preparing to take a bath at her West Tulsa home, and said she "could hear the wood crushing," as the men nearly broke down the door.

She quickly let them know that they had come to the wrong house in their search for a fugitive named "Donnie" -- a mistake that cost the two men more than a missed opportunity, it turns out, as the hunters soon found themselves tracked down by police and under arrest.

Oklahoma does not require the formal licensing of bounty hunters, unlike many other states, and the state's legislature has twice voted down bills to require it. The bondsmen who hired Shaw and Deere told KOTV that, as a result, they had no idea that the bounty hunters themselves had outstanding warrants for their arrest before they went on their mission last week. (Local media reports didn't mention the nature of those charges.)

Here's how Mary described her encounter with one of the bounty hunters to KOTV:

"He said, 'You better open the door. I told you we were bounty hunters ... is this 124?' I said, 'No, it's not 124. My letters are on my mailbox in big white letters. You couldn't have missed it.'

"It was scary."

She says if she had her gun on her, she would have used it to shoot the men. Instead, she called the police. The authorities eventually tracked down Shaw and Deere, and discovered the outstanding warrants. The pair, along with another man working with them, were charged with breaking and entering without permission and are currently in jail.

States have diverse sets of rules and restrictions on bounty hunting. For instance, a recent Washington Post story noted that there are about 150 active licensees in Virginia and, to qualify, bounty hunters must get 40 hours of instruction, along with firearms training, and be recertified every two years. Bounty hunters there also need to operate with permission of local authorities. Felons need not apply.


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