Dakota James Schargus seems to have a knack for getting arrested on drug charges, but he really has an aversion to showing up for court to face the music.
Older arrest records show he was pulled over in July of 2012 for speeding, but he already had his drivers license suspended, and was charged for driving with that suspended license. The next year, in October of 2013, he was arrested again, but this time for possession and transportation of a controlled substance. He was also tagged for a past failure to appear in court on the earlier charge. Shargus again did not show up for court, and was placed on Shasta’s Most Wanted list, and on September 19, 2014 he was arrested and charged with failure to appear on a felony charge.
Then on October 4, 2014, according to the Shasta County Sheriff’s office, he and Nicholas Pitts, 26, were stopped at 1:00 am while driving on Route 151 in the city of Shasta Lake, north of Redding, for a cracked windshield and expired tags. Pitts happened to have two outstanding warrants for his own failure to appear in court, and had also appeared on Shasta’s Most Wanted list. He was arrested for those warrants, but a search of the vehicle revealed 4.8 grams of black tar heroin. Shargus was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Two months later, on December 4, he was picked up by Redding Police and charged with two felony counts and one misdemeanor count of possession of controlled substances. Once again he was also charged with failure to appear in court on a previous felony. The 6’5″, 160 pound Schargus was assigned to a work release program in Shasta County as an alternative to jail, but he apparently did not like that idea either. He was arrested on February 10 for failing to report as assigned. He was instead given probation.
The next month Schargus seemed to be branching out, and on March 3 he was arrested by Redding Police for shoplifting and possession of stolen property worth under $400, both misdemeanors. But he was also charged with felony unauthorized use of personal identification of another – identity theft – and violating his probation. He was booked again on April 29, charged by his probation officer for violating the terms related to the identity theft charge. For the first time, his address was recorded as “transient”, after previously reporting his residence as a home on Nebula Street in southeast Redding.
All of which brings us back to his latest adventure. On Tuesday, June 23, a Redding resident reported to police that his car had been burglarized overnight. While admitting they had left the car unlocked, he was especially concerned that his young daughter’s social security card and birth certificate had been left in the car, and were now missing. But the victim also had a surveillance camera trained on his cars during the night, revealing a tall, thin man in camouflage shorts had been into his cars at 3:06 that morning. After spending several minutes rummaging through the car and pickup truck, stuffing items into his pockets, he could be seen taking a manila envelope from the truck.
In addition to providing the evidence to police, the victim released the video to local media and shared it over Facebook. After the footage was broadcast over KRCR TV, the victim, Wade Riggs, who also offered a $500 reward, received a tip that the man in the video was Dakota Schargus, which he then forwarded to Redding Police Investigator Danny Smetak. Schargus was of course already well known to the police, and had two warrants out on him for again not appearing in court on his latest charges. Becoming something of a local criminal celebrity, he reappeared once again on Shasta’s Most Wanted list, and was located a week later, on Tuesday of this week, by Redding Police patrol officers. After a brief attempt at running away, he proved no match for the officers, and was quickly apprehended before he could ditch his drugs and paraphernalia.
According to Redding Police Sergeant Shawn McGinnis, when interviewed by police about the incident, Schargus admitted he had been stealing items from unlocked vehicles in an effort to support his heroin addiction.The items of greatest concern to the victim – the birth certificate and social security card – were of no use to him, however, and he said he had tossed them out. Redding police are charging Schargus with burglary and petty theft, and will hopefully find a way to keep him off the streets rather than relying on him to show up in court – not a good bet in Schargus’ case.
The victim, Wade Riggs, showed the great value in using social media and the news media in quickly resolving this case. Riggs has identified himself as an “audio/video forensic specialist” who has been used as an expert witness in criminal trials over the past ten years. He has even reached out to the local community, volunteering his skills to help resolve other cases like this one. When asked via Facebook why such important documents had been left in the car, he explained that his wife “had just gotten back from the DMV with our daughter, She had an arm full of groceries having stopped at the store. We have alarms on our vehicles but because she was in a hurry she made two mistakes. The envelope was left in the truck and she hit the disarm button instead of the arm button.” He added “Let’s not lose focus on the bigger picture. NO ONE has the right to enter your vehicle, or your home and steal from you. Growing up we never locked our vehicles or our house but society has changed, sadly.”