Courtroom gavel
A courtroom gavel. File photo

 An alleged bounty hunter accused of unlawfully detaining two people and burglarizing a National City home earlier this year has been arrested on unrelated charges.

Jesse Wagner, 47, who was described by authorities last week as the owner of a bounty-hunting company, Fugitive Warrants, was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on Tuesday, jail records show.

Wagner was slated to be arraigned in San Diego County next week on charges that include kidnapping, false imprisonment, and burglary, but is unlikely to appear in a local courtroom while his Riverside County case is ongoing.

According to the California Department of Insurance, Wagner and others arrested a fugitive in National City on June 10, then burglarized his home.

The defendants then allegedly tracked down the suspect’s girlfriend, who was not wanted for any crimes.

While she was in a car being driven by her father, the defendants allegedly made a traffic stop on the car, then took the girlfriend and her father back to her house. Wagner and his team “falsely imprisoned them in an attempt to locate the fugitive’s firearms,” according to the Department of Insurance.

In the Riverside County case, Wagner is accused of assaulting the wrong man while he and others sought a fugitive.

According to a declaration authored by a Riverside police detective, Wagner and others were in Riverside on Sept. 24, 2020, seeking a man who was out of custody on bail and had cut off his GPS bracelet.

They ended up ramming a different man’s vehicle, dragging the victim out of his car, then punching and Tasing him multiple times.

Wagner told police that while seeking the fugitive, he saw the alleged victim point a gun at his team. He added that the fugitive they were pursuing was in the passenger seat of the car, but was dropped off at some point.

One of the other bounty hunters told police that no gun was ever seen and “he thought (Wagner) was telling the officer that to create a scenario/excuse to justify what he did,” the declaration states.

Last week, the department announced the arrests of two of Wagner’s co- defendants, Daniel Johnathan Hawks, 42, and Annette Bianca Garcia, 35, both of whom pleaded not guilty in a Chula Vista courtroom.

Hawks faces nearly 20 years in state prison if convicted of all counts, while Garcia faces six years.

Both are charged with burglary, false arrest under color of authority, failure to notify law enforcement prior to arresting a bail fugitive and being a bail bondsman carrying an unauthorized weapon. Hawks is also charged with felony counts of kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Wagner faces some of the same charges, as well as a count of exhibiting a taser toward one of the victims, possessing body armor while being a felon and acting as a bail bondsman while having a prior felony conviction. The criminal complaint indicates that Wagner was convicted of robbery in San Bernardino County in 2006.

– City News Service

Updated at 3:50 p.m. Oct. 13, 2022