Culture > Television

Dog collared

Television | The tables turn on A&E's famous bounty hunter

Issue: "Street theater," Sept. 30, 2006

It's a bizarro world when U.S. Marshals barge into a house and lead renowned bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman away in handcuffs. Anyone who has seen A&E's hit reality series Dog the Bounty Hunter knows Chapman, the star, is the one who slaps the cuffs on the bad guys. Chapman, who says he's captured more than 6,000 fugitives, likes to brag he hasn't been the bad guy since a jailhouse conversion in a Texas prison in 1977.

Not that U.S. Marshals cared. Federal authorities arrested Dog on Sept. 14 and held him for extradition to Mexico to face charges related to Chapman's most famous bounty. In 2003, Chapman famously captured Max Factor cosmetics heir and fugitive serial-rapist Andrew Luster, who had jumped his bond and fled to Mexico.

The capture made Dog famous in the United States and led to the launch of what became A&E's No. 1 show, Dog the Bounty Hunter, a reality series based on Chapman's bail-bonding business in Hawaii. Mexican authorities weren't so starry-eyed, though. In Mexico bounty hunting is a crime. Ever since Luster's capture, Mexican authorities have sought Chapman and a few associates for prosecution. Dog and his two associates were later released on bail to await an extradition hearing.

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Within hours of Chapman's capture, A&E cameramen were filming the tense and chaotic moments following the early morning arrest. The footage aired on a one-hour A&E special featuring Chapman's wife Beth talking with reporters and lawyers and multiple impromptu prayer huddles led by both Mrs. Chapman and Dog.

If convicted in Mexican courts, Chapman could face between six months and eight years in Mexican prison-a stiff penalty for someone whose crime was to find a notorious criminal and deliver him to authorities.


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