MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Miami Beach’s David Barton gym got a shake down when a group of bail bondsmen stormed into the men’s room showers looking for fugitives.
“I was standing in a shower relaxed after having a good workout and the next thing I know I’m seeing a gun in my face,” said Scott Linnen who outraged by the intrusion Tuesday night. “My first thought was I’m going to be shot.”
About six to eight bounty hunters busted into the locker rooms with guns, without any warning according to Linnen.
“Jackbooted storm troopers in bullet proof TAC vests with guns drawn entering a private exclusive gym into the shower stalls where customers were bathing, that doesn’t sit well with me,” said Linnen.
The bondsmen reportedly only explained their presence after the ordeal, telling people they were there to take down two wanted men. Linnen says he is outraged and feels his rights were violated.
“These are paid mercenaries with guns who are allowed to come in anywhere they want apparently,” said Linnen. “Pulling a curtain aside and revealing me naked is apparently not breaking any kind of law.”
According to Florida law, bail bondsmen can legally enter a third party establishment if they believe a suspect is inside—giving them more power than police.
“They work under whole different set of rules than police,” said Sgt. Bobby Hernandez with the Miami Beach Police Department. “They can go into third party residences or this case a gym and take custody of the subject but a police officer can’t go into a private establishment, a private home without a warrant.”
We reached out the bail bondsmen involved but they declined to comment, citing confidentiality.
David Barton Gym released this statement:
“They simply ignored our normal security measures, including the building security guard on duty. We feel that they put our members and staff at risk needlessly. As always, we are indebted to our wonderful staff who maintained calm and did what they could without incurring further incident to themselves or our members. And we are grateful to our loyal members who realize that this kind of incident is not a reflection of our organization or those who enjoy our services. This was a situation over which we had no control.”