Ex-bail bondsman in jail for alleged probation violation

Liz Evans Scolforo

A former York-based bail bondsman who avoided prison for assaulting a Lancaster County woman and stealing her dog didn't sidestep lockup for long.

Michael Hansen Sr., 50, of Emerald Avenue in West Manchester Township, was committed to Lancaster County Prison at 4:01 p.m. Friday, according to online prison records.

Michael Hansen Sr.

He pleaded guilty Feb. 8 in Lancaster County Court to misdemeanor counts of defiant trespass, conspiracy to trespass, two counts of simple assault, theft and criminal mischief. In exchange, felony charges against him were dropped.

Lancaster County Common Pleas Judge Howard Knisely sentenced Hansen to four years of probation and ordered he have no contact with victim Lisa Brown or her family, according to a news release from the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office. He also was ordered to pay $2,920 in restitution for damages to Brown's apartment and for her medical bills.

Knisely said Hansen can't "be associated with any bondsman or bail work" and said he was "extremely disgusted" by the facts of the case and found Hansen's conduct inappropriate and criminal, according to the news release.

Bail-bond work is the apparent nexus for his arrest.

Walked across street: Lancaster County authorities contacted the York County detective bureau, which is part of the York County District Attorney's Office, on Friday and said they suspected Hansen was in violation of his probation because they'd heard he was still doing work at a local bail-bonds office, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office.

York County detectives walked across the street to Marquette Bail Bonds, 100 N. George St., on Friday and verified that Hansen was there, apparently doing work, King said. Marquette Bail Bonds is in the same location as Hansen's former Central Booking Bail Bonds.

The detectives then notified Lancaster County authorities about what they'd found, according to King.

Lancaster County Probation Chief Mark Wilson said after York County detectives reported back, a Lancaster County probation summoned Hansen to the office Friday.

He was taken into custody on a probation-violation detainer and committed to prison, Wilson said. He said Hansen is accused of committing a technical violation of his probation, meaning he's accused of failing to abide by his probation conditions.

He has not been charged with any new offenses, Wilson said, adding a probation-violation hearing before a Lancaster County judge will be scheduled within 30 days.

The judge will then determine if Hansen has in fact violated his probation and, if so, how much prison time he should serve for the infraction.

Brett Hambright, spokesman for the Lancaster County DA's Office, has said Hansen's guilty plea nearly three weeks ago essentially cost him his professional career.

"This conviction assures he will not be working as a bondsman or in association with any bondsmen or bounty hunters," Hambright told The York Dispatch earlier this month.

The background: Lancaster City Police charged Hansen after he illegally arrested Brown, smashed up her home and stole her dog in an effort to force her to reveal where her bail-skipping ex-boyfriend was, court documents state.

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Hansen and his bail agents kept going to Brown's home because they apparently thought she knew where her ex, Joshua Green, was hiding and were pressuring her to tell them, according to court documents.

Harassment? The visits and the theft of her dog were intended to harass Brown, according to attorney Heather Reiner, who represented Brown on a related matter but not in the civil suit.

Hansen and his crew kept Boss, a cane corso, for about a week, according to Brown, who got her dog back after York County detectives went to Hansen's former bail bond business and found him there.

Reiner said Hansen told her he was keeping her client's dog as collateral.

"I said, 'You can't do that,'" Reiner recalled. "He said, "We're keeping it until she tells us where Josh is.'"

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Hansen has said he took the dog for "hygienic and health purposes," according to court documents, but Reiner said there are veterinary records from that time period that show Boss was up to date on his shots and in good health.

Had PFA: Brown has said she had no idea where Green was hiding, that she had an active protection-from-abuse order against him at the time and that she called police when he tried to come to her home. She was one of the co-signers on Green's $1,000 bail piece, and Green had missed a court date, according to police.

Hansen went to Brown's home about 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 2015, when she wasn't there. He brought along his former Central Booking Bail Bonds employees Skylar Rhoades and Jesse King.

The trio went into Brown's home and smashed things inside, then called Lancaster City Police and told them there were stolen goods in the apartment, court documents state. Police found nothing stolen but noted it appeared the apartment had been rifled through, documents state.

The men then took Boss and left, police said.

They returned a few hours later, accompanied by Michael Hansen Jr., who is Hansen Sr.'s son and who also worked at Central Booking Bail Bonds. The elder Hansen was holding a shotgun, which he pointed at some onlookers, police said.

Brown arrested: The men arrested Brown, but they had no authority to do so, according to court documents.

They took her to the office of former District Judge Walter Groom, where she had an outstanding fine on a summary case, akin in seriousness to a traffic ticket, and that's when Reiner was summoned to represent Brown.

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Groom's office manager later told authorities Hansen had contacted her office and said they were arresting Brown on a fugitive-from-justice warrant, so he'd also bring her in for her unpaid fine, documents state.

York County detectives went to Central Booking Bail Bonds to look for the dog and tried to take a photo of him, but employees there locked the dog in a closet and claimed it came from a crack house, documents state. That's when the detectives called in the York County SPCA, which checked the dog's microchip and determined he was, in fact, Brown's dog, according to police.

Hansen remains charged in York County with theft-related offenses for allegedly pocketing about $2,700 he should have shared with his former surety company, according to charging documents.

Hansen's co-defendants: King, 30, of Thomasville, pleaded guilty in Lancaster County Court on Dec. 27 to simple assault, false imprisonment, defiant trespass, criminal mischief and conspiracy for the Brown incident and was sentenced to six to 12 months in prison, court records state.

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In June, he was sentenced in York County Court to eight to 16 years in state prison for aggravated assault and other offenses in an unrelated case, court records state.

Rhoades, 32, of York, remains a fugitive from justice on his Lancaster County charges for the Brown incident, which include defiant trespass, false imprisonment and simple assault.

Hansen Jr., 34, also is charged in the case. He is free on bail, charged with false imprisonment and simple assault, according to court records. His next court appearance is scheduled in May.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.