Bail & Fugitive Recovery

I discovered bail in 2017, more or less by accident, and more or less due to my ex’s inability to find a job after we moved to Wilmington.

We found a great house, recently renovated by the AMAZING SwanSong Properties LLC, and got a mortgage with estimated income from a job offer he had from a local company. It would have been a great job for him, but as we were unloading the moving truck, he got a call saying that the lady he was replacing decided to not retire after all. “So sorry!” they said.

At the time, I was working for a ministry, selling essential oils, and building the occasional website on the side – I wasn’t making anything near what we needed to make ends meet. At the time, we both believed that he was more skilled than I was and could definitely earn more money than me. Belief is a very, very tricky thing – if you don’t watch out, it’ll hold you back. Never willfully allow anyone else to eclipse you, and never shrink back so that someone else can feel good about themselves.  

We had to have money to pay the mortgage, so we launched ourselves into the gig economy, mostly doing uber and grocery deliveries. I hated every minute of it. Uber is definitely not my forte. He enjoys talking to strangers, so he liked doing rideshare work. Still, it wasn’t enough money to live on, so he applied for job after job but only got a handful of interviews. Nothing worked out until one day, he got a call from someone out in Morganton, asking if he’d like to be a bail bondsman.

We literally had to ask Google for a job description because we didn’t know anything about bail. In retrospect, it’s hilarious that an hit and a Google search changed my life.

Since Morganton is about 5 hours from Wilmington, we both rode up there. When the company found out that I was waiting at a nearby coffee shop, they had him come and get me so they could interview us both. At the end of the interview, we had an offer! We just had to get licensed.

And it was perfect – zero liability and they’d do the fugitive recovery for us. We knew that we didn’t want to arrest anybody, EVER.

At least we thought it was perfect at the time. After getting licensed and starting to write bail, we quickly discerned that we weren’t working for the greatest human beings in the world. But we’d signed a one year contract, so we pressed through. During that time, I learned a lot and really focused on gaining the core skills needed to do the bonding side of this work. I gained a reputation of “being organized” – a quality that apparently most bondsmen lack.

Toward the end of that first year, it became clear that the company we worked for wasn’t actually doing the fugitive recovery for our cases – they were simply paying bonds. It wasn’t my business, so I shouldn’t have cared – but I did. I knew that people were getting away with crimes because the bondsmen weren’t doing their jobs. I understand the rationale now – by the time you send a team five hours away, it can actually be cheaper to pay it.

Then we fell into the recovery side of things. One defendant took off and I found his fake facebook profile and figured out he was in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. I figured it out from the corner of a street sign, believe it or not! I successfully catfished him and had a meeting all set up. The company was supposed to have agents in place to arrest him, and then at the last minute I was told they decided not to come and I was ordered to not go myself to do the arrest. The other defendant had become a friend. He had a terrible addiction to heroin and molly (ecstasy). He missed court, and his grandma called begging us to catch him. She was so afraid he was going to die (and he ended up overdosing a couple of years later). I was at the jail writing a bond, so my ex tracked him down and caught him at a store, then picked me up to go to the jail. The kid was literally shooting up in the store bathroom. We had to take him to the ER for medical assistance and then to the jail. When we were done, we looked at each other and said “we could do this…” and after that, we started doing all of our own fugitive recovery.

At the end of the year, we jumped ship from that company. My good friend Kevin was launching a new venture with a business partner, and we joined on with him and graduated to being our own agency – something that’s virtually unheard of after just a year in the business. During that time, we added a couple of agents including my son, Bobby. Sadly, that partner and an employee did some things that caused the rapid downfall of that business. We quickly jumped ship again to another agency. They were great people but the owner and I had a very different view of how to run the business and we butted heads more than a few times. I wanted out while we were still able to be friends.

I remember waking up one day with a decision in my heart to approach our surety company to ask for a direct contract. It seemed extremely audacious and I really thought they’d say no. To my surprise and delight, the CEO was happy to offer us a contract and a great rate. We drove to Charleston and signed the contract.

Suddenly, we were our very own agency and all on our own. While it was intimidating, it was also exhilarating. I had a mission – to be the best. I also knew that I wanted to expand and one day have the largest agency in the state.

Over the next two years, we added a number of agents and an office manager (thank GOD for Maggie Spivey!) and we  expanded to cover all of southeastern NC. Unfortunately a couple of the agents my ex hired were writing really bad bail and he refused to fire them. During the early winter of 2020, we had to put 65 people in jail for missing court. To this day I’m amazed that we pulled it off, and I’m very proud of myself and the agents who worked with me, but it was exhausting and unsustainable. I discovered that one thing God created me to do is skiptracing – the art and science of finding people who do not wish to be found.

Rex Spivey, my Whiteville office manager, came to me one day and asked if I’d be open to interviewing someone he’d worked with at another company. John George was an accomplished fugitive recovery agent with a fantastic track record and superior skills. Although I had no idea where the money would come from to pay him and his partner, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass by.

After a lot of prayer, discussion, and inspiration, NCAT (North Carolina Apprehension Team) was born as a partnership with Rex and his wife, Maggie. God gave us a plan for paying everyone, and we quickly picked up some contracts in addition to doing our own cases. John’s partner had some life changes and moved away, so I began working with John every day. We rounded up a ton of people.

It was during this time that a client promised his friends and family that I’d never be able to find him. Of course, I “did my magic” and found where he was living, and John hauled him out of a closet. “Miss Kay don’t play” was the first thing the guy said when he realized it was me.

As 2021 ground on, it became more and more clear that I needed to end my marriage. Things escalated to a point where it was impossible to continue. As that realization hit, my health took a nosedive. I wasn’t eating or sleeping,  I was forced to be hypervigilant, and working became more and more of a challenge. I promised my family and friends that if things didn’t change by my birthday, I would get out.

I formally separated from my ex on the day before my birthday in 2022 and immediately launched Beacon Bail Bonding and Beacon Surety & Agency Services.  I left him with the original company. My new agency took off and soon became known as one of the best agencies in the state, plus my MGA serves agencies all over North Carolina. NCAT hired two excellent men to work with John, which allowed me to take a break from field work. Jeff and Dennis are true professionals and have been an incredible blessing to me personally and to NCAT.

Over the last year, I’ve focused on building my businesses, regaining my health, finalizing the divorce, and loving on my family. I’ve also been learning how to rest and relax – something I’ve not been able to do in years. I’ve succeeded beyond wildest dreams with the business, my health is steadily improving, and the divorce should be final soon. I’m finally re-launching my health & wellness business too. I’m finally back to working in the field doing recovery, but because John and the guys do such a great job, I’m able to keep everything balanced. Life is good!