A man who officials say randomly attacked a woman and stabbed her dog with a machete in Taunton last month has been arrested.
Thomas Vargus, 45, one of the Massachusetts State Police Most Wanted fugitives, was arrested Sunday in Pennsylvania, police said on Monday.
Vargus allegedly attacked a woman walking her dog on Sept. 18 on Church Street in Taunton. He abruptly pulled out a machete, officials said, and began stabbing the dog. The woman was also struck and injured by the weapon during the attack.
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Residents nearby intervened during the incident and locked the dog inside a vehicle so that it wasn’t further injured. Vargus then allegedly fled the scene and a warrant was issued for his arrest He was also added to the list of Most Wanted fugitives in Massachusetts not long after the assault.
Vargus has a “lengthy and violent” criminal history in Massachusetts, according to state police, including nine assault and battery convictions with dangerous weapons like a beer bottle, mace sprayer and beer can. He has also been convicted on federal narcotics conspiracy charges.
Vargus was arrested after troopers learned that he may be living in Marcus Hook, Pa. According to intelligence gathered by officials, he was staying with a convicted felon and member of the Pagan Outlaws motorcycle gang who was well-known to area police.
That man, Glen J. Turner, 70, had served a federal prison sentence for shooting a New Jersey state trooper in the face in 1982. Turner and Vargus served federal prison time together, officials said. Turner remains on federal parole.
On Sunday, a Pennsylvania officer saw Turner and Vargus walk into a local diner and called for back up. Once the men left the diner, officers took Vargus into custody.
Vargus was then taken to the Marcus Hook Police Department and charged as a fugitive from justice. Officials in Massachusetts will arrange his transportation back to Bristol County, where he will face charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and animal cruelty.