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Bounty hunter is a wanted man

Thu., April 11, 2013

An unlicensed Spokane bounty hunter is now the hunted.

A judge authorized an arrest warrant Wednesday for Dennis Kariores, 43, who skipped a hearing where he was expected to plead guilty in a case that charged him with kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.

Kariores was charged last year with first-degree burglary, second-degree kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment stemming from two cases where investigators alleged he unlawfully detained people while acting as an unlicensed bond agent.

Kariores’ long relationship with local law enforcement also sparked a criminal investigation into now-fired Spokane police Officer Alan Edwards. That case remains open, Spokane County Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

Kariores was arrested last year in Florida and extradited to Washington. He was not in custody prior to Wednesday’s hearing.

His attorney, Mark Hodgson, declined to comment about the nature of the plea agreement that had been negotiated with Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Tony Hazel.

“I just can’t talk about that,” Hodgson said. “I don’t want to strip the deal if there is a future deal.”

Prosecutors allege Kariores detained fugitives while acting as an unlicensed bond agent.

In February 2010, Kariores and two other licensed bond agents went to a home in the 1100 block of North Nelson Street while searching for a suspect. The man’s wife allowed the three men into her home, but when they didn’t find the suspect, Kariores demanded to see her phone and refused to allow her to leave, according to court records. Kariores and one of the bond agents handcuffed the woman, which prompted the charges of first-degree burglary and unlawful imprisonment.

On Aug. 26, 2010, Kariores and another bond agent located a fugitive from Coeur d’Alene at a home in the 12200 block of East Fourth Avenue in Spokane Valley. The two men physically restrained the fugitive, Bryan Hamblen, and took him to Spokane, where Kariores and the other bond agent turned Hamblen over to Officer Edwards.

Kariores, who was convicted of forgery, theft and unlawful issuance of bank checks in the early 1990s, said in a previous interview that he had worked with local bond companies for years.

“Everybody knows me, from the tweakers to the police,” Kariores told The Spokesman-Review before the charges were filed against him.

Kariores’ association with Edwards, a 21-year veteran of the police force, was the subject of a lengthy criminal investigation in 2011 and 2012.

City investigators cleared Edwards of charges after that investigation, but city leaders suspended him for two weeks without pay after deciding he violated departmental policy by engineering an improper “ruse” to gain entry to a Spokane home in 2009 while searching for stolen property.

In that case, Edwards directed Kariores and another bondsman to chase a fugitive into a home where they expected to find stolen wheels from a Cadillac. That enabled Edwards to search the residence without a search warrant.

Edwards was fired by former Interim police Chief Scott Stephens on March 1, 2012 – shortly after he’d returned to work from 10 months of paid leave – for using police resources to discover the address of a woman he met in a Spokane Valley bar the previous December.

Chamberlin, the sheriff’s office spokesman, said a separate county investigation into Edwards’ conduct is waiting on the FBI, which detectives asked for help in determining whether charges are warranted.

Edwards’ attorney, Chris Bugbee, said he hasn’t been contacted by law enforcement investigators for about a year.

“I know the feds were going to look at it, but I haven’t heard anything,” Bugbee said, “not even a rumor.”

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