How Bounty Hunters Got Fugitive Heir

June 19, 2003 -- For six months, bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman was consumed with hunting down fugitive cosmetics heir Andrew Luster.

"We've been researching for him. We have ate, slept and drank this person for six months. I've hardly seen my husband. He missed Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day," his partner and wife, Beth Smith, told Good Morning America today.

Smith, a bounty hunter herself who often works with "Dog," said the long hours were worth it to catch Luster, an heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune who was convicted in absentia of drugging and raping several women.

"I couldn't be happier that Andrew Luster is in custody. Dog did a very good job. He worked very, very hard."

In the course of their investigation, Chapman's team assembled a "scrapbook" of material on Luster, including information from police, Luster's victims, and even cosmetic surgeons.

Smith said the hunt cost Chapman thousands from his own pocket, in the hopes of collecting the $150,000 reward.

"I love what I do and am honest with what I do and I don't get paid unlessI catch a guy. So I must catch the guy," Chapman told GMA in an interview conducted at the height of the search for Luster.

Dramatic End for Long Search

Chapman's work finally paid off when he received a phone tip after he appeared on television discussing the case.

"A young man had been on vacation in Puerto Vallarta and said, 'Hey look I think I partied with this guy,'" Smith said.

She said once they verified the information, Chapman jumped on a plane to Mexico and staked out his target.

He finally grabbed Luster in the Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday.

Luster was apprehended on an open street as bystanders called police. Unable to sort out who was who in the fracas, authorities jailed Luster, as well as Chapman, his two sons, and a two-man television crew which included a Hollywood actor named Boris Krutonog.

Chapman apparently used his preferred method of subduing a target: a "fire extinguisher-size" can of pepper spray.

Hunter and Fugitive Both Jailed

Because bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico, Chapman is apparently facing legal problems relating to the capture. However, Smith said they'd dealt with similar situations before and that the important thing was that they had taken Luster into custody.

"His main objective was to get Luster into jail and he achieved what he set out to do," she said. "If [Chapman] has to spend a couple days in jail, so be it."

She insisted a few nights in jail are worth the $150,000 reward Luster's capture will yield, as well as the satisfaction of bringing a convicted rapist to justice.

"We want to get this predator," Chapman told GMA during his six month pursuit of Luster. "He was convicted of this by a jury of his peers. He's absolutely guilty."

In making the grab, the bounty hunter beat the FBI. But law enforcement officials were confident they would have eventually found Luster.

"This probably would have gelled with or without the assistance of the bounty hunter. It just happened a little bit sooner," said Bob Mac, an FBI spokesman.

Luster will either be deported or extradited to the United States, where he faces a 124-year sentence for rape, poisoning and drug possession.

Luster's lawyer, Roger Jon Diamond, told Good Morning America he hadn't communicated with his client while he was a fugitive, but said he planned to appeal the convictions now that Luster was in custody.

ABCNEWS' Chris Francescani in Puerto Vallarta contributed to this report.

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