By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - We all know A&E's Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Well now meet who people around Columbus and Phenix City call "South Dog."
"Don't hate the player, hate the game, and I am the best at playing this game. I've been playing this game most of my life, the bonding business, and I know every trick. I know how to get you in my car and get you to the county jail and still make you like me, and I'm leaving and you're stuck in jail," Richard Ward says.
Ward owns Behind the Scenes Investigation and Bonding. And when his clients look like they may not show up for court, Ward doubles as the bounty hunter.
"People think we're idiots, that we are total idiots, but I am holding all the cards," Ward says.
State law says you are required to pay 10% of your bond to get out of jail, but if you don't show up for court, your bondsman has to pay the court the full bond amount.
So when 10's of thousands of dollars are on the line, Ward says he will find you.
"We get collateral and we make sure you go to court, because we get your mom and tell her if you miss court, I am going to sue you and take your house and she says oh yea I am going to make sure he goes to court," Ward says.
And if ward bonds you out, you have to follow his rules.
"You have to tell me where you live, if you get a different job, you have to tell me where you work, I even like if you change cars you have to tell me what you're driving, that way if I need to get in touch with you because something came up with court, I can get in touch with you," Ward says.
If Ward can't find you at home, he can usually trick clients into meeting him.
"I'm using the fact that I have certified mail to hopefully lure him over to my car and once I get him over to my car I'll do the rest," Ward says.
Ward nabbed two clients this way, each on a $50,000 bond.
"If you're on a $50,000 bond and you're told to call every week and you decide no I'm not going to call my bondsman, you don't make the rules, I make the rules," he says.
Ward always has someone watching his back. Meet April, his wife and business partner, who was working in finance before she met him.
"Before I did this, I ran a loan company, and it's not much different, it's still dealing with people but you're not loaning people money, you're loaning people out of jail so it's sort of the same," April Ward says.
Just a little more exciting.
"I absolutely love it, it's never a dull moment," April says.
Ward does say that he actually doesn't have to do too much bounty hunting. He says more than half of his clients follow his rules and show up for court.
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