Bondsmen may be forced to pay $1 million bond - WSMV Channel 4

Bondsmen may be forced to pay $1 million bond

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

An accused rapist is causing quite a commotion in one community, even though he is nowhere to be found. He's still a danger to neighbors, and now bail bondsmen who got him out of jail may have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay his $1 million bond. The fugitive's family could also lose their homes as a result.

Stephen Eugene Beck, 41, has seemed to have disappeared.

"You got these guys that run until they get caught, this guy is running for his life," James T. Climer Bonding Company Owner James Climer said.

Beck has been on the run since failing to show up for court in Wilson County on July 25, 2011.  That was the day he was scheduled to make a plea or set a trial date.

He is facing the possibility of 45 years in prison for nine counts of child rape, 16 counts of rape and 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. 

Beck was also indicted by a Rutherford County Grand Jury in August 2010 for three counts of rape of a child, but he never showed up for his trial date. He is accused of offering a teenage girl to other men in exchange for money in Murfreesboro.

"He's committed some horrible crimes and we need to get him off the streets," said Chris Highers, who owns Chris Highers Bonding Company in Murfreesboro.

Beck is now listed as one of TBI's Most Wanted Fugitives. 

Ten Rutherford County bonding company owners are now on borrowed time. They have until May 4, 2011 to find him or they will have to pay his $1 million bond for jumping bail. Chris Highers put up $300,000 of the $1 million bond.

"It kind of has blown up in our faces. We've spent countless hours trying to find him, bounty hunters, TBI Most Wanted," Highers said.

The bondsmen believe they could be looking for jobs themselves if Beck is not found soon.

"This is a lot of money and it's going to put some people out of business if he can't find this guy," Highers said.

The bonding company owners believe the family knows where Beck is, or may have had contact with him.

"(His) sister for one, mom, dad (and) the aunt, they all know where he is. (They are) keeping him hidden out; that's what's keeping him on the run right now," Tony T. Campbell Bonding Company Owner Tony Campbell said.

Campbell said if it turns out the family is helping to hide Beck, they could face possible charges of aiding and abetting and harboring a fugitive.

Channel 4 News spoke with Beck's father, Sam Beck, who didn't want to comment about his son. There's even more on the line for his parents, who in Wilson County, and his 91-year-old aunt in Nashville if he doesn't turn himself in. Both put up their homes as collateral.  

"After we pay this bond, they will lose everything they got," Climer said.

The bonding companies are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to Stephen Beck's arrest. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is offering $1,000. 

If you have information call the TBI, at 1-800-TBI-FIND or Chris Highers Bonding Company at 615-585-JAIL.

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