After being on the run for close to two years, the former owners of the Two Georges Sea Food restaurant were arrested last month.
However, it was learned on Friday that the two have been released from an Arizona jail, despite the fact there are outstanding warrants for them in Nueces County.
The news of the pair's release from the Pima County Jail comes as a total surprise to Nueces County law enforcement. After all, Michelle Chapman and Jim Ovecka have been on the run facing some serious theft charges.
"Given the information that I have, that is a surprise," Assistant District Attorney Deborah Rudder said. "If indeed they were there and there were outstanding warrants for them, we'd certainly like to look into why they were released."
Chapman and Ovecka were picked up by U.S. Marshals in Tucson, Az., on Feb. 20. On March 6, they were released after paying bond.
The pair used to own Two Georges restaurant in Corpus Christi, and are wanted on charges of theft. 32 former customers claim their credit cards were over charged by almost $300,000.
Based on the pair's past actions, Nueces County prosecutors are concerned that Chapman and Ovecka won't be making an April 4 extradition hearing in Arizona.
"If they begin fighting extradition, then they are going to have a hearing in Pima, and that would all transpire on whatever rules they have there in Pima," Rudder said. "And depending on the outcome there, they would either be extradited or they wouldn't."
Rudder also said that, if they do not show to the extradition hearing, and there are open warrants for their arrest, they would be come fugitives of the law again.
A bond of $20,000 was posted by Chapman and $50,000 by Ovecka, promising they would be back for the extradition hearing.
Law enforcement sources said that, if the pair does show up for that hearing, the District Attorney in Nueces County will have to initiate the process of producing what is called a governors warrant. That document is an agreement between the governors of the respective states that basically mandates that wanted fugitives be turned over.
That all, of course, depends on whether the Corpus Christi couple shows up for the hearing.
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