Bill Scanlon / The Rocky
“Dog” and Beth Chapman in their south metro-area home.
Dog the Bounty Hunter and his effervescent wife, Beth, are giving their latest bond jumper a couple of days off – but just a couple.
“We’ve been riding him so hard; sometimes these guys feel like committing suicide, and we don’t want that,” Beth said Thursday from the “Dog Cave,” their upscale home in the south metro area.
“Him” is Marco Padilla, the alleged leader of a Mesa County- to-Aurora drug and check- fraud ring.
To the irritation of Dog and Beth, Padilla hasn’t been found – the one guy in a gang of seven that they haven’t caught up with in their two-week stay in Colorado.
Duane “Dog” Chapman, Colorado-born and raised, sports a look that is a cross between pirate and romance novel cover stud.
A sparsely buttoned shiny black shirt allows glimpses of his pecs; he has platinum blond shoulder-length hair that never quits.
He’s buff, tricked out and can look very menacing when he’s not smiling or laughing.
It’s the same outfit he’ll probably be wearing when he catches up with Padilla.
“I want to scare the hell out of him. I want a criminal to take one look at me, and say, ‘Oh, God,’ ” Dog said.
Beth and Dog want to make it clear to Padilla that he doesn’t stand a chance, that he’s just making it worse for himself and for his family, whose members, they’re convinced, are helping him hide.
“At any time, he can stop this insanity,” Beth said.
Efforts to reach Padilla or members of his family were not successful.
Dog, Beth and the kids have their own reality show on A&E, which attracts 3 million viewers a week to the exploits of a family that rides ATVs together and captures bad guys together.
They spend most of their time in Hawaii, but two weeks ago jetted to Denver first-class – on A&E’s dime – to help an old friend, a bail bondsman who is very sick. The man risks losing his business because seven of his clients jumped bail, leaving him on the hook for $250,000 with Colorado courts.
Turns out, they are all connected to Padilla and an alleged Mesa County drug, check-fraud and ID-forgery ring, according to the Chapmans.
Dog and his posse captured six of them in short order, all on film for the reality show.
Padilla’s sister, Elizabeth, filed a complaint this week with the Aurora police against the Chapmans, saying they were harassing her with phone calls and foul language.
Boo-hoo, say Dog and Beth, who maintain that when you’re doing God’s work, you have to be tough with anyone who would help shield criminals.
“We’re not dealing with Sunday-school children here,” Beth said.
They’re not fond of the entire Padilla family, to be perfectly honest.
Elizabeth, who complained that they tailed her to a Wal-Mart, is the co-signer on Marco Padilla’s bond, so she is obligated by law to help bring him to justice, Beth said.
The Chapmans searched her home last week, according to Beth, and found evidence that Elizabeth may know more than she’s letting on.
“She’s right,” Beth said. “We are harassing her and will continue to do so until she gives up her brother.”
Capt. Louis Perera of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the Chapmans tracked down three of the fugitives from the Mesa County case at an address on East Harvard Avenue and called deputies to come by and arrest them.
Dog said that having the TV cameras rolling cuts down on the danger during the tense moments of confrontation: “Do you really want to shoot me on national television?”
If fear doesn’t get the best of Marco Padilla, then Dog and Beth hope his conscience does. Dog said he hopes Padilla “has some shred of decency left” and will have some mercy on a man who is about to lose his life and business.
Beth has spoken to Padilla in recent days – courtesy of a cell phone that his family members handed to her in midconversation a few days ago, she said.
“He told me, ‘I want you guys to know that I’m not a bad person,’ ” Beth said. “I said, ‘We don’t think you’re bad. We think you’re scared.’ “
Dog attended Denver public schools. He says he was a criminal as a young man, ending with an arrest for murder in Texas. He says he was outside a home when a member of his gang killed someone. He was sentenced to five years in prison, where he says he grew up.
He said his life is testament to the fact that “you can still have fun and be a good guy and wear a black hat.”