What Would You Do If Face to Face With a Wanted Man?

PHOTO A actor poses as a bounty hunter in this screen grab from "What Would You Do?"ABC
A actor poses as a bounty hunter in this screen grab from "What Would You Do?"

It's mid-morning and you're out for brunch with friends and family. Halfway through your meal, a fugitive recovery agent -- also known as a bounty hunter -- hands you a wanted poster.

"We've got a tip that he might be in the area and just wanted to hand out this poster to see if anybody has recognized him," the agent says.

You take a glance, looking at his description, his crimes and of course the menacing face looking back at you. The catch? The agent who has just handed you the poster and the man who's in the poster are actors working for "What Would You Do?" We traveled to Mastoris Diner in Bordentown, N.J., with our hidden cameras to see how patrons would react when they see a "wanted" man sitting right next to them.

Patron Recognizes 'Criminal'

When we start the scene our actor playing a fugitive recovery agent starts to pass out the wanted posters.

"He's been hitting up diners in the area. If you see anything just call the number on the bottom of the poster," says our actor.

As people look over the poster our agent walks out, leaving the scene and responsibility to Mastoris Diner guests. Minutes later, who walks in the door but our "wanted" man, also played by an actor.

At 6 foot 7, 280 pounds, he is hard to miss. Right away people begin to see this giant of a man walk through the diner and sit the counter, looking over a menu. As our actor begins to read a newspaper, one concerned patron does a little reading of his own, making sure it's the same man in the poster.

He quickly recognizes our "criminal" and runs to the front of the diner warning the manager, assistant manager and a waitress of the danger inside. Now, instead of leaving the diner all together, our whistle blower decides to go back to his seat and wait for the authorities to arrive.

"Excuse me sir? Do you know how far it is to Philly?" says our actor to the man.

But, instead of a response our heroic patron turns his back to the convict, mouthing "that's the guy!" to another person who's seen the poster.

"I mean the guy's a criminal. What are you gonna do? I just did what I was supposed to do," he later tells us.

When asked about the intimidation factor he says, "he's intimidating but, I mean, I wasn't particularly concerned about him. He asked me for a cell phone. I have one but, I told him I didn't."

What Would You Do?

Throughout the course of the day we notice that people had a similar reaction to being handed a "wanted" poster. It seemed customary for them to give the poster a quick glance, then keep the poster face down.

One customer later tells us he was worried that his own safety would be compromised if someone approached the "wanted" man.

"He was sitting right over there," the patron says. "I thought if somebody got to him, they'd think that I was involved, and they'd shoot me or something."

As the cameras continue to roll, we witness one of the most memorable responses of the day. This time, we send in an actor who might be less intimidating -- he is one foot shorter and 100 pounds lighter than our last "criminal."

As soon as our "wanted" man walks into the room, one patron recognizes him immediately.

"The guy is sitting in the booth behind me," says the man to an actress playing a waitress. Then, he calls the number on the bottom of the poster.

Within minutes, the call brings our actor playing a recovery agent back to the diner.

"Somebody make a call?" says the agent.

"I did!" says the man, "He went to the bathroom and he's got a cross on his head!"

As soon as our agent makes his move we see a first for the day: the patron who called our agent stands up and begins to walk with the agent, apparently intending to join the confrontation with the "wanted" man

"You want to come with me?" the agent asks the customer.

"Why not?" the man responds.

As they head to the bathroom to confront our convict, this brave Bordentown resident meets our "What Would You Do?" cameras.

We find out later that he is a retired police officer who, it seems, is always ready and committed to keeping his town safe.

When asked of the importance of getting involved, he says, "I was sworn to do it for years. You know, you just have to. You can't let people get away with stuff anymore. It's just gotten out of hand."

Watch the scenario unfold on "What Would You Do?" Friday at 9 p.m. ET.