The Seekers: Finding Felons and Guiding Men: A Bounty Hunter's Story

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9780061014796: The Seekers: Finding Felons and Guiding Men: A Bounty Hunter's Story

Nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime

They are trained and experienced in all manner of martial arts skills, weaponry, and mental discipline. They have state-of-the-art equipment and know how to use it.
They have a success rate of 85% -- comparable to the police, the FBI, and the U.S. Marshals Service. If you run, they will find you.

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About the Author:

Joshua Armstrong, the founder and leader of the Seekers, is based in northern New Jersey. Under his guidelines, the Seekers have captured more than two thousand fugitives.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

It's Christmas morning, 1998, and the sun isn't even up yet. Most people are still in bed. But I'm not concerned about Christmas or presents or any of that because I'm here on business. Right now I have to put all extraneous thoughts out of my head and focus on what has to be done. If I don't, my two sons may never see their daddy alive again.

I'm walking down the sidewalk with two of my fellow Seekers, Job and Rock, in this poor but respectable neighborhood of detached woodframe one- and two-family houses in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Seekers are an elite team of bail enforcement officers, more commonly known as bounty hunters. We are here this morning "seeking" a young man named Ray-Ray.

Ray-Ray is a fugitive from justice. Two months ago he was scheduled to face drug charges in Newark, but he skipped out on his bail. He's living in Gainesville, Florida, now, getting ready to set up shop down there, but he's back home to visit his mom for the holidays. (This is the most common mistake fugitives make: going home for the holidays. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Mother's Day are the busiest days of the year for a bounty hunter.) Ray-Ray intends to leave for Florida tonight fight after dinner. I know all this because I talked to his mother earlier this week. She's worried sick about her son, afraid of what might happen to him if the police catch him or what he might do to others. She'd heard about the Seekers and our reputation for taking people in with minimal violence. That's why she called me and asked if we'd take her boy in before someone else did.

As we walk along the cold pavement, Job, Rock, and I are silent. The thin layer of snow that fell two days ago melted yesterday and refroze overnight, forming a crust on the ground that amplifies our footsteps as we approach the gray two-family house that we've been scouting all week, As we enter through the driveway and go to the rear of the house, I don't have to tell either man what to do. They know the plan. Rock will wait downstairs and cover the back door. Job and I will go inside.

Quietly I open the screen door, then turn the knob on the inner door. it's unlocked, which is just what I expect. Ray-Ray's mother agreed to leave it unlocked for us. She also let me know that Ray-Ray is an early riser who likes to start the day with a long hot shower.

As we enter the house, Job -- broad-shouldered and in his fifties -- takes out his gun, a Glock 9mm semi-automatic. I pull out my identical Glock. Rock is also carrying a Glock. We always carry the same weapons when we make an arrest, just in case. if one of us runs out of ammo, either of the other two can throw him a spare clip.

Inside, Job and I mount the wooden stairs that lead up to the firstfloor apartment. We take each step carefully to minimize the squeaks. We're both wearing identical black parkas and black Polartec masks that cover the lower halves of our faces. Our insignia is on the breast pockets of our parkas, a caduceus inside a triangle and a circle.

Job and I enter through the back door of Ray-Ray's mother's apartment, the kitchen door. The room is warm, and the smells of home cooking just about break my heart. There's a ham in the oven -- I can smell it -- and a sweet-potato casserole on top of the stove, waiting to go in. A coconut layer cake is on the counter, a plate of butter cookies on the table. I know how hard it must be for this woman to turn her son in.

The apartment is quiet except for the sound of the running shower. Job and I move from the kitchen to the parlor. A small artificial Christmas tree is sitting on top of the television. A few wrapped presents are on the floor under the window. Presents the woman has bought for her son? I wonder. Suddenly I think of my own sons.

Job moves down the hallway toward the front of the house while I cover the bathroom door. He checks all the rooms to make sure no one is home, even though I'd instructed Ray-Ray's mother to clear out of the place if she could. She'd told me her son had a gun, but I would have assumed that even if she hadn't told me.

Through the door, I can hear Ray-Ray moving around in the shower. I imagine him washing his hair, rinsing out the shampoo, thinking he's got it made, thinking he's going to score big when he gets back to Gainesville and starts selling weed and blow to all the college kids once they get back from Christmas break. The world is his oyster. I'm sure he isn't thinking about the court date he missed or the bail bondsman who's now responsible for paying his $75,000 bond to the court. That's what I'm thinking about.

Job returns and gives me a nod. The woman has left; no one else is around. We exchange glances, my hand on the doorknob. Both our guns are pointed up. The shower is still running. I turn the knob carefully and open the door. We slip in quietly, and Job shuts the door behind him, leaving it open just a crack.

The small room is steamy, the mirror fogged over. Job and I take our positions, shoulder-to-shoulder, just on the other side of the mintgreen plastic shower curtain, our masks still on. We wait for Ray-Ray to finish his shower...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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