Man Wanted in Taunton Machete Attack Captured in PA
Thomas Vargus, one of the Massachusetts State Police Most Wanted fugitives, was captured Sunday in Pennsylvania. Vargus, 45, is wanted for the random stabbing of a dog and the assault of the woman walking the pet in Taunton last month.
Massachusetts State Troopers assigned to the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, Taunton Police, deputies from the United States Marshals Services and officers from several other agencies have been attempting to locate Vargus since the September 18 incident.
Troopers and officers recently developed information that suggested Vargus might be living in the town of Marcus Hook, PA. The intelligence suggested Vargus was staying with a convicted felon and member of the Pagan Outlaws motorcycle gang who was well-known to local police. That man, Glen J. Turner, 70, had previously served federal prison time with Vargus.
Yesterday, a Marcus Hook patrol officer observed the local man and Vargus walk into a local diner for dinner. Additional officers responded as back up, and after the two men left the diner, the officers took Vargus into custody without incident at the intersection of Marshal Lane and Green Street. Vargus was transported to the Marcus Hook Police Department and charged as a fugitive from justice. Massachusetts authorities will arrange his rendition to Bristol County to face charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and animal cruelty from the September 18 attack.
In that incident, Vargus approached a woman who was walking a dog on Church Street in Taunton, suddenly pulled out a machete, and began stabbing the dog. Vargus also struck the woman with the machete and injured her. Witnesses intervened and got the dog away from Vargus to prevent further injury. Vargus ran from the scene. The woman and the dog both survived the attack.
Following an investigation, Taunton Police obtained an arrest warrant for Vargus. The Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section added Vargus to its list of Most Wanted fugitives shortly after the assault.
Vargus had previously sported a shaved head and tattoos that covered his face, neck and the top of his head. At the time of yesterday’s arrest, his hair was grown in and he was growing facial hair in an apparent attempt to cover his tattoos.
Turner, the Marcus Hook man with whom Vargus was staying, had served a federal prison sentence for shooting a New Jersey state trooper in the face in 1982. The New Jersey trooper survived the shooting but was left partially blind. Turner currently remains on federal parole. Vargus was previously convicted of federal narcotics charges.
In addition to Massachusetts State Police, Taunton Police, Marcus Hook Police, and US Marshals, other agencies assisting in the investigation were Brockton and North Attleboro Police, the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Special Operations unit, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
--Massachusetts State Police