Florida Bail bondsmen used Facebook to find fugitives

Posted: January 22, 2013 in Bail Bondsmen News
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LEE COUNTY, Fla. – When tracking down a person who has missed a court date, Melody Celec says it helps to know as much about where they live and work, and who they know.

Celec, the owner of A Way Out Bail Bonds, says that’s why Facebook is a useful tool for the bounty hunting trade.

“We noticed that it was just such a social media, and so many people know so many people,” said Celec.

Her business has had a Facebook profile since 2010, posting mugshots and information on people who have jumped bail and seeing if anyone responds.

“People would actually call us and say, ‘Hey, is there a reward for this guy? I’ve seen him over in the Cape,’” Celec says.

She and others in the business say Facebook is not just a good place to get tips.

As more people use it to log in anywhere they go, agencies can use it to track someone’s whereabouts.

At Sophia’s bail bonds, using social media is not a common practice, but agent Johanna Tortosa says late last year, the company used it to locate a defendant.

The man updated his profile as he moved around and revealed it each time he posted.

“We realized that we get results, so we hope to use this more in the future,” says Tortosa.

When all else fails though, Celec says the internet can help reach out to the suspect.

“We had one gentleman last year who said, ‘I see that I’m up on your Facebook, I’m ready to turn myself in. I’m tired of running,’” says Celec.

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