Pranking the Police

By Christopher Rice

Nearly a dozen bounty hunters swarmed a house in Phoenix Tuesday night, but instead of finding a man wanted in Oklahoma, they found Joseph Yahner, the police chief of the sixth largest city in America.

The team was apparently acting on bad information from an erroneous tip posted on their Facebook page.

"We don't know if the chief was the target specifically or if the bond companies were a target and sent there by someone," Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said.

From Slate: The proprietor of NorthStar Fugitive Recovery, a 43-year-old named Brent Farley, was arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. A police officer said Farley "refused to leave the property" and "continued to give commands to Yahner" even after others on the scene had realized their mistake.

A quote further down in's piece about the incident may help explain how something like this could happen:
John Burns, former president of the Arizona Bail Bondsmen Association, said Arizona is one of the few states that don’t require bail bondsmen or fugitive recovery agents to be trained or educated.
I realize Burns probably means "educated about bail-related investigative techniques," but what it sounds like is that he's saying Arizona doesn't require fugitive recovery agents to have attended so much as kindergarten, which seems plausible in this case, at least.

Farley is a convicted felon, which means he is not legally permitted to own a handgun. Police are investigating whether or not this was just an honest mistake or a prank.

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