The search for self-described survivalist Eric Matthew Frein in Pennsylvania will no longer include bounty hunters because they cannot legally make arrests in the state. Despite rewards being offered for Frein’s capture that total $175,000, the vast majority of the members of Pennsylvania’s bounty hunting community have opted not to participate in the search for the fugitive and according to a state police spokesperson, only a few bounty hunters even joined the search in its initial stages.
The search for Frein began after he allegedly shot and killed a Pennsylvania state trooper and seriously injured another in an altercation that took place in early September of this year in Pike County.
The ongoing investigation and state-wide search has led officials to believe that their man is hiding out in an area of undeveloped land covering about 5 square miles bordering Monroe and Pike counties in the northeastern part of the state.
Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers has put up a $75,000 reward for information leading to Frein’s arrest. Government officials are also offering an additional $100,000 in reward money and have placed Frein on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
According to officials with the National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents, the association was not made privy to any Pennsylvania bounty hunters being in the Pike County area and taking part in the search.
One spokesperson for the association said that the main reason that bounty hunters are not keen on going after Frein, despite the substantial monetary rewards being offered, is because of the exceptional level of danger that is involved in this particular situation. The nature of fugitive recovery work is inherently dangerous to begin with, but the fact that Frein is probably well armed and hiding out in a wooded area that is unfamiliar to bounty hunters is keeping them at bay.
One fugitive recovery agent noted that while the reward money is tempting and bounty hunters are not cowards, the specifics of the situation make the issue one that is more suited for law enforcement officials to handle.