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State officials look into bail bond industry

The Missouri Department of Insurance today conducted the third of four scheduled public hearings on the bail bonds industry.

Insurance director John Huff has set up a 15 member panel composed of lawmakers, court officers, and bonding business people to review Missouri bonding laws and regulations.

Ironically, the hearing comes in the same week as an episode in which bonding agents appear to have pushed their way into the wrong Springfield home.

"We have no idea who they were and why there were in our home, Robbi Cox, who was confused by bondsmen said. Because we didn't even know the people they were looking for.

Cox said several people rushed into her home Sunday, waiving guns and scaring the wits out of her family.

"I was basically confused and scared and stuff, Cox said. I don't know what was happening or anything.

The bounty hunters were looking for a fugitive from Franklin County. When they realized they had the wrong house, they pushed their way into a neighbor TMs home, having first thrown the homeowner to the ground outside. Police now have several stories to sort through, though it appears the bonding agents were looking for a man who was a friend of a woman who was visiting the neighbor. Both families involved want answers about the limits of bonding agent authority.

"They have less the restrictions that what a law enforcement agency has and can make some entries under some circumstances, Springfield Police Department Maj. Kevin Routh said. And that's the key that's under investigation here...is, did they have enough information to make entry into the residence?"

Springfield police provided no information about the bonding company, nor the agents involved in the apparent mistake.

The Greene County prosecutor's office will review the case.

The final public hearing on the bonding business is scheduled for next Tuesday at the state capitol in Jefferson City.

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