They ran fast and caught the 'Gingerbread Man'

Clark County bail agents get man who called himself the fairy tale character

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 

‘The Gingerbread Man’

One day, an old woman who lived with her husband in a cottage near a river baked a gingerbread man. When she opened the oven door, the gingerbread cookie jumped up and ran out of the cottage, yelling, “Don’t eat me!” The couple chased him, yelling, “Stop! Stop!” But they weren’t fast enough.

The cookie, with a sly smile, said, “Run, run, fast as you can! Can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

The Gingerbread Man passed a pig on a nearby road who gave chase, saying, “Stop! I would like to eat you!” But the Gingerbread Man was too fast. Farther down the road, he passed a cow who was also too slow for the quick cookie.

Laughing and teasing the cow, the Gingerbread Man shouted, “Run, run, fast as you can! Can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Soon, the Gingerbread Man came upon a horse. Even the horse couldn’t outpace the swift sweet, who made his way to the riverbank. The Gingerbread Man, however, didn’t know how to swim.

“How will I cross the river?” he wondered.

A hungry fox who saw the Gingerbread Man said, “Hop on my tail. I’ll help you across the river.”

“Will you eat me?” asked the Gingerbread Man.

“Of course not,” answered the fox. “I just want to help.”

About halfway across the river, the fox told the Gingerbread Man he was too heavy and needed to jump onto his back. And then, he said he was still too heavy and needed to jump onto his nose. The fox flipped the Gingerbread Man up into the air, opened his mouth and — snap! — that was the end of the Gingerbread Man.

A bail-jumper who considered himself the "Gingerbread Man" for his knack for hopping state lines and eluding the clutches of Clark County authorities got his just desserts last week.

To avoid the law, Shaun Lynell Wilson, 37, moved from Washington to Oregon to Indiana before being caught.

Bail agent David Regan, owner of Regan Bail Bonds, had two phone conversations with Wilson while he was out of state but mostly communicated via text message. Wilson often texted "gingerbread man," referring to the classic tale of the gingerbread cookie who ran from his baker to avoid being eaten.

During his escape, the cookie yelled, "Run, run, fast as you can! Can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!"

Perhaps unaware of the ending to this fable — where a fox tricks the Gingerbread Man and eats him — Wilson was captured by Regan Bail Bond agents in Indiana who brought him back to Clark County last weekend for trial.

"I've got to give him an A for originality," Regan said. "Not too many people will taunt us."

Nine months ago, Regan Bail Bonds bailed Wilson out of jail on misdemeanor charges: driving with a suspended license, driving under the influence and reckless driving. Wilson failed to appear in District Court in February and April. When contacted, he said he needed a couple of weeks to put some affairs into order and would turn himself in.

While Regan kept tabs on his whereabouts, Wilson didn't live up to his promise.

On May 21, Wilson posted on his Facebook page that he was moving to the East Coast as soon as possible and had already purchased tickets, later signing off as "Ginger bread man." At the start of June, the search began in Vancouver at the Thunderbird Village Apartments and at a residence in the Van Mall neighborhood — but Wilson dodged the agents each time.

One of Wilson's girlfriends said he had moved to New York, but Regan later learned that at the time he was in Eugene, Ore., where she was driving him around.

"Sometimes people throw smoke signals," Regan said.

Wilson moved to his mother's house off Northeast Halsey Street in Gresham, Ore. While across the river, Wilson texted Regan "ginger bread man" and boasted about being out of the court system's reach. Regan requested an extraditable misdemeanor warrant from the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney's Office to retrieve Wilson from Oregon. This type of warrant has been granted one other time in Clark County, but this marked the first time a bail bond agent made the request. Not that it can't be done, Regan said. It's a matter of whether it's worth the cost.

With a $20,000 bail on the line, Regan considered it both worth the cost and a matter of principle.

"I think it's a mockery to the court system, to be honest," Regan said of Wilson's actions.

Wilson has a long history in county district and superior courts of repeated offenses that include not showing up to court hearings and breaking the terms of his sentences.

On June 18, the Federal Multnomah Warrant Strike Team served a warrant at a residence in Northeast Portland, where officers confirmed that Wilson had fled to Indiana. Wilson texted Regan "ginger bread man" and said he would fight extradition.

Two days before at the same address, Wilson had a going-away party, which neighbors confirmed.

Turns out Shaun Wilson was in Evansville, Ind.

On June 19, bail agents Lew Ervin and Jason Stomps left Vancouver, traveling about 2,600 miles for 37 hours from Vancouver to Evansville. Five officers with the Evansville Police Department assisted with the arrest of Wilson, who was surprised, to say the least, according to Regan. They arrived back in Vancouver around 6 a.m. June 23.

This wasn't Regan Bail Bonds' first cross-country extradition road trip. They've traveled to Texas, California, Florida, Idaho, even out of the country to retrieve fugitives on felony charges. Most states follow the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, which says that criminals who flee to another state may be extradited if documents prove that the criminal is a fugitive and committed a crime.

Wilson appeared in Clark County District Court on June 25 via video conference.

"Isn't that a little spendy?" asked Judge Darvin J. Zimmerman when he learned about the trip to Indiana.

Regan Bail Bonds spent about $3,500 in gas, cash and time to retrieve Wilson.

Area bail bond agencies put him on the "no bail" list. He was also filed into the National Crime Information Center, a computerized index of criminal justice information. With Wilson's high flight risk, Regan hopes he gets about a year in jail.

However, Wilson recently posted $20,000 cash bail and was released. Will he stick around for further trial and his sentencing?

"That will be the real miracle," Regan said.

Patty Hastings: 360-735-4513; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops;patty.hastings@columbian.com.