Ex-bail bondsman released from prison

Liz Evans Scolforo

A former York-based bail bondsman who assaulted a Lancaster County woman and stole her dog has been released from prison after a monthlong stay.

Michael Hansen Sr. violated his probation conditions by continuing to work in the bail-bonding business after being ordered not to, a Lancaster County Court judge determined Friday. Hansen was arrested on suspicion of the violation and was locked up Feb. 24.

Michael Hansen Sr., York-based bail agent and former bail bondsman

Common Pleas Judge Howard Knisely said in court Friday the only reason he was showing Hansen leniency was because Hansen's defense attorney gave him bad advice by saying he could manage the office of a York bail-bonding business, according to Brett Hambright, spokesman for the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office.

On Feb. 8, the day Hansen pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years of probation, Knisely made it clear that Hansen can't "be associated with any bondsman or bail work" and said he was "extremely disgusted" by the facts of the case, according to the DA's office at the time.

On Friday, the judge wondered aloud in court why Hansen and his attorney didn't "consult with the only one that counts," and pointed to himself, according to Hambright.

Banned from bail work: Defense attorney Royce Morris told the judge he gave Hansen "erroneous information" about whether he was banned from all bail-bonding work.

“How can (my order) be misconstrued that (you) can manage the office?” Knisely asked Hansen in court, according to the DA's office. “You shall in no way play a role in any bondsman business.”

Knisely said a future violation on Hansen's part would mean state prison for him, according to Hambright.

In response to the violation, the judge added a year of parole to Hansen's sentence, meaning he will be on parole for a year before his previously imposed probationary sentence of four years begins to run. He then ordered Hansen released from prison, Hambright said.

Hansen, 50, of Emerald Avenue in West Manchester Township, apologized "for any misunderstandings," and told Knisely, "I have no intent in being anywhere near (the) bail bonds business going forward," according to the Lancaster County DA's office. Hansen stipulated to the violation, Hambright said.

Morris did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Caught in the act: Lancaster County authorities on Feb. 24 contacted the York County detective bureau, shared their suspicions and asked detectives to check, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office.

Detectives went to Marquette Bail Bonds at 100 N. George St., verified that Hansen was there working and notified Lancaster County officials about what they'd seen, King has said. Marquette Bail Bonds is in the same location as Hansen's former Central Booking Bail Bonds.

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Hambright said the business' Facebook page had a post indicating that Hansen was managing the office.

Hansen was summoned to the Lancaster County Probation Office and taken into custody on a probation-violation detainer, Lancaster County Probation Chief Mark Wilson said at the time.

He was committed to Lancaster County Prison, then transferred to Perry County Prison, according to prison records.

The background: Lancaster City Police charged Hansen after he illegally arrested Lisa 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.

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.

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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.'"

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.

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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.

Hansen and his crew then took Boss and left, police said.

They returned a few hours later, accompanied by Michael Hansen Jr., who is Hansen'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.

Groom's office manager later told authorities Hansen that 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 pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of defiant trespass, conspiracy to trespass, two counts of simple assault, theft and criminal mischief.

He 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.

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