Tampa Stripper's Fugitive Recovery Job
Stripper on the Run
My bail enforcement partner and I were sent on what you could call a "wild goose" chase. Finding one particular stripper that had jumped bail in Key West and moved to a well known stripper heaven town in Tampa, Florida was like finding a needle in a haystack. In the past we've had our share of fugitive skips and although stripper fugitive recoveries are not all that common, we have had a few. In the dancing profession moving around to work the best strip clubs can be lucrative for the girls.
You think it's an easy task until you realize these dance club girls change hair color and hairstyle like they worked for Vogue, Inc. Even without actual physical changes, they can easily change their appearance with wigs, glitter and heavy makeup.
Our dancer girl failed to show up for court in Monroe County, Florida. Upon contacting references on her bail bond application we were informed she was on crack cocaine. They say she got up one early morning and unannounced left the current boyfriend to shack up with a new guy in a new town. She took her clothes, some personal items and a 1993 old beat up car her recently deceased father had left her. Two possible strip clubs in Tampa were mentioned as potential employment places as our defendant had previously worked them with her other stripper friends. Such creative names, Hollywood Nights and Flash Dancers were the actual mentioned clubs just a short distance from one and other.
Our job as fugitive recovery agents was to make an attempt to locate her at one of these two clubs. One club featured all black dancers and so we skipped it since our girl was white. At the other club latin girls were the flavor. After surveilling the outside and watching dancer after dancer get dropped off or pull up in their vehicles tugging at their oversized makeover bags and luggage, we decided that until we spoke to someone this could become an endless mission as we had no confirmation our girl was actually working at either of these places.
As luck would have it, the owner of the Latin Club was sitting outside the club. Upon seeing the picture of the girl we were looking for he gave us some interesting feedback. He did not employ our defendant or recognize her as any of his permanent dance girls. He explained girls from different areas come as a group looking for work on weekends especially because they stand to make more money than they would make at their regular place. Since it doesn't cost him anything , they come and he lets them dance for tips for the day, a night or the weekend. They leave and might do the same at other clubs but he wouldn't know who they are or if he'll ever see them again. He did not recognize her face and asked us for her stage name as in this industry the girls don't use their real names. "Alexa" we found out did not ring a bell to him.
Happy with his cooperation we went to the all black club. At the door the bouncers did not recognize our girl either and actually laughed. Only black girls danced here and anyone looking like our mugshot would definitely be working a day shift, 11 to 7pm. We understood he meant the less than attractive shift. They give the night and weekends, the so called money making shifts, to the nice looking girls not crack heads, overweight nor homely chics. They informed us Tampa was home to 42 strip clubs, handed us an actual magazine "Night Moves" where top dancing girls and clubs are featured and sent us down Dale Mabry Ave to the main drag of clubs to find our dancer. They unanimously pegged our girl as possibly working at Alibi or Envy, two of the less desirable and lower rated clubs in the town and most definitely insisted we would find her working the dog shift, I mean daytime shift.
Once on the avenue I resorted to my iPad and found a post naming Dale Mabry Avenue as the "worst street" in America. I can't argue with logic and we continued on our quest to find our fugitive dancer girl. Plenty of neon signs, bright lights and fancy cars caught our attention. My partner went in to show our fugitives' photo and I staked out the place outside looking for her or her vehicle. At two different clubs, bouncers laughed at our idea that our girl might be even working there. We argued that she might look better but this was a "mugshot", no one looks good in them. One guy replied, "ok, fine, take away the mugshot, still noway in hell that girl could ever work here." He claimed they employed model quality girls making $3500 to $5000 a week. My jaw about dropped. I wish I'd taken better care of my body!
We resumed the search and found the club Alibi. After showing the picture to the girl in the front she immediately went to the DJ and showed the photograph to him. We knew then that they at least knew her. We abruptly interrupted, wanting to know what they were discussing. They affirmed it was in fact "Alexa" but she was not working that night. She worked day shifts and would possibly be coming in the following day which would have been Friday, but for sure on Saturday at noon. She was their top dollar dancer. Bingo! All we had to do was pray that night that our defendant did not get tipped off by her co-workers. They seemed genuinely shocked and fearful of getting themselves in trouble if they alerted her to us being there looking for her, so we left the club comfortable in their discomport hoping they would both hold on to the secret without first turning blue while all the time our fingers went crossed behind our backs. Sometimes you can really find needles in a haystack.
We returned the following morning around 10 am hoping she would have the 11 am shift. Girls continously rolled in, either walking up from the infamous Dale Mabry main road, dropped off by boyfriends, or in their own vehicles. One girl came in about every half hour. Located on a corner next to a busy auto video install business there was plenty of movement in the parking lot but few customers at that early hour to be in any mood to watch dancers. We did witness what looked like a drug deal. Brand new BMW with extra dark tints pulls in to the clubs parking lot. No one exits the vehicle for a good 15 minutes. An Acura parks next to the Beamer. Driver of the BMW gets out opens passenger door of the Acura sits and closes the door. Literally 30 seconds go by, same guy opens passenger door of Acura, exits closing door behind him, opens driver side BMW door while clutching something on his hand,closes door and backs up. By this time Acura has already sped off. Wow, so this is how it's done! Where is a cop when you need one?
We are still hanging around surveilling the club while running different scenarios in our heads and laughing about our dumb luck. At 12:30pm here comes the car we've been waiting on. Driver is a girl and fits the description of our defendant. We automatically open our vehicle doors and take off in different directions. My partner walks up to the girl from behind while I come up around and in front of her car. We call her by her stage name and she jumps. Tattoos on her back are a dead give away. Her hair is lighter but to give credit where it's due, she did look much better than her mugshot. We handcuff her, pat her down and per her instruction leave her belonging in her cars trunk and give her car key to her bartender girlfriend inside the club. We head south, transporting our prisoner and making small talk with her. Of course she denies knowing anything about any warrants and blames her publlic defender.
Tampa Stripper Spills her Guts
You can judge all you want but you never really know someone until you've spent time with them listening to their side of the story and trying to imagine being in their shoes.
To us, fugitive recovery is a job. You fail to show up for court we have an obligation to find you and bring you back to the jurisdiction of said court. No judgements passed, we leave that to the courts.
While most everyone has a sob story, some believable some full of you know what, I have to say I genuinely felt bad for this girl and all she's endured throughout her life. Her mother abandoned her and her dad at an early age. Her father raised her as best he could. Her mother went on to have 6 other children, every single one with a different father. She knows all her half siblings. Her son was in a bad auto accident with a friend of hers and her children and has had 3 reconstructive surgeries.
She too gullible and can't see the pattern of abusive, controlling and good for nothing boyfriends in her past and present relationships. She's been the bread winner in all relationships and hence the cash cow.
She speaks well, has traveled, is bilingual and currently going to school for nursing. She seems to have a good heart and she's doing the only thing she knows how to do to earn a good living, pay for her tuition, send money to her son currently living with an aunt out of state aunt, maintain her "disabled" boyfriend and pay his kids child support and and top of that help out HIS mother.
Stories like this make you glad to have common sense, self worth and some moral standard.
We allowed her to use our cell phone to speak to her boyfriend on the ride down. She told him where she would be incarcerated, how much he needed to rebond her out, where to find the money, and instructed him on setting up the phone so she could call him collect. As far as The printing of this hub, she still sits in jail while I'm sure don Juan has been living it up with her money adding insult to injury by staying in her apartment.
Tricks of the Trade
In talking with her she tells us she's the top money maker at her club. She explained that when she started dancing she needed to be under the influence, she drank and smoked a little to calm her nerves.
She divulged how some clients come see her dance almost on a daily basis.
She explains how its not polite to turn away customer bought drinks. Bartenders and dancers have special drinks codes so when customers want to buy the dancers a drink the dancer will call out for example to the bartender "sex on the beach" and the bartender will know to mix juice and club soda. Clients are routinely billed top dollar for drinks of soda.
Every body makes out like a bandit! Clients don't realize it because they are too busy getting hammered. One for the girl... one for me = $20 bucks, plus the lap dance.