Tracking Down Skips

MARCH 3, 2006 -- Raul Brewster and the members of his team from Powell Bail Bonding are trying to track down skips. Skips are people out on bond who miss a court appearance.

It's Brewster's job to find these people and get them back to court so his Wilmington company doesn't forfeit the bond they've paid. Depending on the crime, it can be a few hundred dollars or much more. The more at stake, the more dangerous the mission can be.

Brewster says the majority of his customers do appear in court. It's the people who leave town or go into hiding, that brewster and other bail bondsman are after. When looking for skips, information is the greatest weapon. Pictures, addresses and names of friends and a even a person's family members help narrow the search.

Skips have 150 days after a missed court date to pay the bond, but after that the money they've paid for bond is forfeited and funneled into the local school system.

Much of the work bondsmen do is something local police departments don't have the resources or time for, and for many bail bondsmen, their work becomes a way of life. And that life sometimes means travel. Brewster says he's been to New York, Maryland and other states just to track down a skip.

Reported by Joe Keiley