Bounty Hunter Who Bagged Max Factor Heir Claims He’s Best in the World

AP Wire Service

HONOLULU (AP) – He calls himself “Dog” and claims he’s “the greatest bounty hunter in the world.”

On Wednesday, Duane Lee Chapman of Honolulu also claimed to have bagged his most famous prey, tracking Southern California serial rapist Andrew Luster to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The Max Factor cosmetics heir had been on the run since January.

Residents who heard Chapman and two other bounty hunters scuffling with Luster called police, who took all three into custody. Also jailed were two U.S. journalists who were present when Luster was apprehended.

According to his Web site, Chapman is “an international media personality, live speaker, private security trainer, law enforcement/government consultant and full-time husband and father.”

He left Hawaii for the mainland in February to search for Luster.

“Snagging this guy would be awesome,” he told The Honolulu Advertiser before leaving. He said he had Luster’s pager number and a rough idea of his whereabouts.

Chapman has said he knows firsthand what it’s like to be wanted by the law. As a juvenile, he says, he had 18 arrests for armed robbery and served less than two years of a five-year prison term for murder in Texas.

Mexican authorities took him into custody Wednesday on charges of being in the country illegally.

Bounty hunting is considered kidnapping under Mexican law, but it wasn’t immediately clear if authorities also planned to pursue those charges.

Chapman says he got into the business of tracking down fugitives shortly after he was released from prison in February 1979, when a judge told him he owed thousands of dollars in back child support.

Chapman, who claims to have fathered 12 children, said when he replied that he had no money the judge offered him $200 to find a fugitive. He found him in a week, he said, and soon was apprehending as many as four people a day.

His work has won him the respect of at least one Hawaiian law-enforcement official.

“If he can take some of the guys off the streets, then it makes our job a little easier,” state Deputy Sheriff Tommy Cayetano told the Advertiser in February.

Chapman has lived in Hawaii since 1991 and operates Da Kine Bail Bonds in Honolulu with his wife, Beth Smith. They also own a bail bond business in Colorado, which is operated by Smith’s father.

Chapman normally spends most of the year in Hawaii, splitting the rest of his time between Los Angeles and Denver, where he grew up.

A born-again Christian, he says he got his nickname – God spelled backward – after he prayed for a fellow motorcycle gang member who was
“always mad at God.”

The bounty hunter who claims to have captured more than 6,000 fugitives told the Advertiser in February he was thinking of reducing his workload by targeting only high-profile people.

“I just turned 50 and I’d like to slow down a bit,” he said then.