SHANDA ZAPATA: I am a soccer mom by day, I put on a vest and I’m a different person. ROBERT: Fugitive task force, come to your door, please! COMM: It’s first thing in the morning and like any other mother of four, Shanda Zapata
is getting her family ready for the day. SHANDA ZAPATA: There’s some dried up blood on here.
It’s hard being a mom to kids in different ages of their lives. I have one in high school
and three in elementary school, one about to be in middle school. SHANDA ZAPATA: Clean your room and put the things that you need in your bagpack. COMM: But with the kids organised, it’s time to get herself ready for work. SHANDA ZAPATA: The AR is right there; make sure the kids don’t go with the AR. So in
this neighbourhood I am well known for being a bounty hunter, there’s not too many blonde
women with guns walking around. So I tend to stick out a little bit. Well, I’ve had
a 45 shot at me; I’ve had somebody pull a knife at me, I’ve had somebody use intravenous
needles as darts where they’ve actually thrown them at me. Every day could be your last. SHANDA ZAPATA: Turn off the TV! Shoes and jacket. Make sure the straps are on right
in the back for me, please? SKYLER: Of course I worry, I know she’s like very well trained and she’s been around
squads. She usually has a lot of backup right there. Yeah you definitely worry sometimes. SHANDA ZAPATA: The kids get used to bounty hunting life definitely. So, what is your
greatest concern? Daughter: That you might get killed. SHANDA ZAPATA: All right, love you! Thank you. SHANDA’S SISTER: Your welcome, good luck! COMM: With her youngest children dropped off safely with her sister, Shanda can head to
the office. SHANDA ZAPATA: Basically the day starts as I call a bondsman, ask him if they have files.
I go into the office, meet with them, get the filed pulled. I then go down to the courthouse
and get pull of mug shot, get the copy of the warrants and then I run different things
through different systems which I don’t really wanna talk about ‘cause they’ll
give up kind of our secrets, or I go on Facebook, a lot of time you can find people on Facebook,
and then we go down on a piece of paper you’ll have addresses. SHANDA ZAPATA: Hello boys! MAN: Good morning. Keep your drinks. COMM: She arrives at the office of her friend and mentor, Brett Amie. Already there are
bounty hunters Robert Padilla and Mike Venables. MIKE: What’s your case Robert? Fill us in! ROBERT: Got a possible location. Where exactly
he is hanging out at a friend’s house with his friend, mom, dad live there as well.
BRETT: We got an address for him? MIKE: They gave a name of a buddy he is staying
with this morning and I tracked the address. COMM: Bounty hunting is a male dominated profession, which has been both a hindrance and an occasional
advantage for Shanda. SHANDA ZAPATA: I’m respected and hated at the same time. There’s not too many females,
it’s a nuisance. I feel like I have to work 10 times harder ‘cause I’m constantly
proving myself. Sometimes I can use my femininity to my advantage, sometimes we set people up
like in a bar situation where I’d get all dolled up and kinda catfish them. SHANDA ZAPATA: Let’s go. Let’s go. MIKE: All right. COMM: But before they leave, Brett reminds them of the need to be careful. BRETT: (inaudible) was an auto theft, never forget that!
ROBERT: I know! BRETT: They went out; they took it, you know,
went to the basement thinking it was just an auto theft, only one walked out! So let’s
go well, let’s go be safe and let’s get this kid. SHANDA ZAPATA: Let’s go! COMM: Hunting fugitives can be dangerous but the potential financial rewards can more than
make up for it. SHANDA ZAPATA: The amount of money that I make from a bounty, it’s about 10% of whatever
the bond is. You know if it’s a $150,000 bond, that’s $15,000. There is potential
to make money but you have to work a lot of hours and get big files to make that. COMM: And Shanda needs the money because a combination of serious illness and a lack
of medical insurance has left her $800,000 in debt. SHANDA ZAPATA: I’ve lost everything in my life; I’ve been through a lot of struggles.
I battled cancer a few different times. First call when I was nineteen, you know, I was
cut open, I had three large grapefruit-sized tumours, I also had a six-month son at the
time. It taught me that life isn’t fair. I was a server at a couple of different restaurants,
how I got into bounty hunting was, I actually saw a thing on the news about local bounty
hunters and I googled it. That was something that I was interested in doing. It’s definitely
a nerve-wrecking job, there’s, you know, quite a few meth addicts we go after. The
adrenaline rush you get form this job is so high, that you, you can get sick to your stomach,
you can throw up, you can, you have to kind of keep your calm at all times. COMM: First, Shanda tries showing the fugitive’s mug shot around the neighbourhood he was last
spotted. SHANDA ZAPATA: Hello! Have you seen this guy? Have you seen him? Have you seen him?
MAN: No! SHANDA ZAPATA: He’s a minor.
MAN: No! SHANDA ZAPATA: All right, thank you! No?
MAN: Uh huh! SHANDA ZAPATA: All right, thank you! Have
you seen this kid? LADY: No.
SHANDA ZAPATA: No? COMM: No one has recognised Shanda’s mug shot. But then they get a lead on an address
where the fugitive could be hiding out. RADIO COMM: (inaudible) SHANDA ZAPATA: All right, sounds good.
RADIO COMM: (Inaudible) SHANDA ZAPATA: Sounds good! Oh, here’s PD.
MIKE: I’m gonna walk in and talk to the neighbours on each side of the house. See
if we can get a confirmed confirmation of him being in the house. MIKE: Excuse me. COMM: But while Mike checks with the neighbours, Shanda and Robert might have found a witness. WITNESS: Oh you know what, he, he is around here!
SHANDA ZAPATA: Yeah, do you know which house, right now?
WITNESS: Right now? What’d you, you guys real, are you guys?
ROBERT: We’re bounty hunters! SHANDA ZAPATA: We’re bounty hunters. So
do you know where he’s at or not? WITNESS: I just see him at the corner store
to be honest. But that was about 10 minutes ago. COMM: As they close in on their target, Shanda has all of her training and experience to
fall back on. SHANDA ZAPATA: The training is an ongoing thing actually. The schooling only took about
six weeks; the training extends further after that. We work alongside SWAT or a local police
department. I trained in BJJ, which is Brazilian jiujitsu. I like the AR, that’s rather fun
but for practical reasons I like my 40. It’s an MMP so it’s normally what the police
would carry too. This one is much funner. I do love them, the bigger the better, I think. SHANDA ZAPATA: You pull a gun on me, and you start shooting, I guarantee I will hit my
mark before you will. I will go home at the end of the day. ROBERT: Fugitive Task Force, come to your door please!
WOMAN: He’s not here! First came over here when he first got out.
ROBERT: I got five warrants for his arrest. MAN: Oh yeah, but he’s not here. SHANDA ZAPATA: People who are wanted will hide anywhere. SHANDA ZAPATA: Hi puppy, hi. Yes! Good boy. MAN: You want me to leave him a message?
ROBERT: I don’t know! Why don’t you call me so I can put him in jail!
SHANDA ZAPATA: Thank you guys, have a good day.
Robert: Okay, thanks guys! SHANDA ZAPATA: So we just searched the house, he hasn’t been here in a week. The neighbours
said that they saw him the other day. A lady came up and said that she just saw him at
the corner store but I’m not too sure about this lady, I think because we’re out here,
she saw a moment to get on TV, I think that’s why she came over and said it. COMM: Shanda might not have got her man today but she’s proud of the job she does and
what she’s achieved. SHANDA ZAPATA: I’ve lost everything in my life, I’ve been through a lot of struggles
and with hard work I managed to become somebody. It makes me stand a little bit stronger knowing
that I was capable of doing that and yes, I am a female, and I can put away people that
are dangerous, that are wanted and doing harm. A female can do that.