'Bounty hunter' has many faces
Iraqi war vet. Wheelchair basketball coach. Healing bead manufacturer. Television producer.
These are the many faces of Summerville's Rene Anthony Greeno, whose latest incarnation as an intrepid bounty hunter landed him behind bars in North Dakota a couple months back.
Greeno, 27, is all over Facebook, dating web sites and You Tube promoting his bounty hunting exploits, his reality TV endeavors and himself. But just who Greeno really is appears to be a more elusive commodity.
On Facebook, he described himself as a Charleston native. On a dating web site, he said he hails from Hawaii. A former employer in Colorado said Greeno claimed to be from Texas, where his dad supposedly was a Supreme Court justice.
Even his race and ethnicity are subject to debate. Court records in Indiana list him as white, while a North Dakota jail web site has him as a black inmate. On the OKCupid dating site, he lists his ethnicity as Pacific Islander.
But one thing is for sure: Greeno enjoys tooting his own horn.
"Based in South Carolina, these Bounty Hunters mean business all across the U.S.," boasts the Facebook page of his company, Southern Bounty Fugitive Enforcement. "There isn't a fugitive that can run far enough from this squad."
Greeno told a Fargo, N.D. television station in October that he has captured more than 5,000 fugitives, and an Oklahoma bail bondsman said Greeno claimed to have nabbed twice that many when he spoke with him. Southern Bounty's Facebook page notes that the company has agents in South Carolina and 11 other states, while Greeno's dating profile boasts that his annual salary approaches $500,000.
Veterans in the fugitive apprehension field are highly skeptical of those numbers given Greeno's age and the fact that his bounty hunting and bail bonding companies aren't licensed to operate in South Carolina or North Dakota.
In his dating profile, Greeno stated that he has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, served for four years in the Marines and pulled two tours of duty in Iraq. That information could not be verified last week.
He also stated on the site that he owns Benevolent Beadworks, a magnetic jewelry and therapy company in Colorado. But Michael Tennant, who answered the company's phone, said he is the owner and Greeno never had a stake in the business beyond being an employee who left on bad terms. "If he is in trouble now, then good for him," Tennant said. "He's not a good guy."
Tennant said Greeno claimed to be from Texas when he encountered him a few years back. But others said Greeno was thought to have grown up in Indiana, where he has convictions for driving without a license, public intoxication, domestic battery, theft and illegally entering a residence, according to court records.
He ended up as a fugitive from Indiana in 2010 when he allegedly absconded from a work release program in Tippecanoe County, court records show.
Greeno's ties to the Charleston area extend back to at least 2009, when folks remember him visiting the region before his arrest in Indiana. He returned after leaving the Indiana work release program and set to working with a friend who coached the North Charleston Hurricanes, a wheelchair basketball team.
When Greeno's friend died in 2012, Hurricanes player Rob Duckworth of Goose Creek said he stepped up as head coach and had Greeno as an assistant for about six months. Greeno, however, showed a volatile temper and gave tongue lashings to some of the players, Duckworth said. They finally let him go after the team's first game that year in North Carolina, where a Greeno tirade against the opposing team sparked complaints, he said. Greeno continued to post online, however, that he was the Hurricane's head coach.
"To meet him, he straight up seems like a nice guy, clean-cut, well-spoken," Duckworth said. "He seems like a nice guy, but he's not."
Greeno's bounty hunting career goes back to at least 2011, when he was stopped by Summerville police while tracking a fugitive at Summerville Villas with two men decked out in tactical gear, a police report stated. The two men abandoned Greeno after learning he was not a licensed bounty hunter, police said. Greeno, who initially gave police a phony name, was later charged with lying to police and violating the state's bail bondsman law, a charge to which he pleaded guilty this year, police and court records show.
He gave addresses in Summerville and Ladson at the time of his arrest, but the phone numbers he listed no longer work.
Greeno continued posting photos, tales and pronouncements on Facebook about his bounty hunting exploits as he worked to drum up interest in "Southern Bounty," a reality TV show about his endeavors. He also traveled to Oklahoma to train with fugitive recovery agents who would later cut ties with him, saying they questioned his experience and tactics.
He posted promos on YouTube and stated that the show was scheduled to air this year on WTAT-TV Fox 24, though the station's general manager said no such deal was in place. A message Greeno posted two months ago on the crowd-sourcing web site gofundme.com stated that he had raised $10,000 to sponsor the series.
Phil Summers, a local actor and videographer who worked with Greeno on "Southern Bounty" in Charleston this year, said the footage they shot was scripted with fake action and actors playing fugitives. A North Dakota-based filmmaker told The Forum news service of Fargo a similar story about the footage he shot there before abandoning the project when he learned Greeno was a wanted man.
"I thought he really had something going on, something that was worth my time," said Summers, who insists he was never paid for his work. "But it didn't turn out that way."
The show, if there was one, has been in limbo since Greeno's October arrest in Fargo after he and team of fugitive hunters reportedly kicked in the wrong door while hunting for a man who wasn't there. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to three misdemeanor charges related to the incident and is now fighting extradition back to Indiana on the 2010 escape warrant, court records and authorities said.
Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Maj. Charles Williams said Indiana authorities are in the process of seeking a governor's warrant to haul Greeno back to the Hoosier State. Normally, the escape charge, a Class D felony, wouldn't be something for which they would bother with extradition. But for Greeno, he said, they plan to make an exception.