|“||Those idiots didn't know what hit 'em.||”|
— Schrader to Joe Muller
A lifelong criminal, Dale began a series of armed bank robberies throughout New York in 1994, marrying a woman named Connie on August 17, 1995. On June 16, 1996, the two had a daughter, who they named Jenny, less than a year after the wedding. On May 5, 2001, Dale was sold out by Dan Otey, a fellow bank robber, and arrested. Evidence of Dale's involvement in the other robberies provided by Officer Joe Muller (who had gone undercover to catch Dale) proved damning, and Dale was sentenced to fifteen years in a Lockport prison. While incarcerated, Dale proved to be a model prisoner, and due to good behavior, was released in only eleven years. While serving his sentence, Dale plotted an elaborate revenge scheme, which he set into action two days after his release, tracking down the home of Joe, having discerned that he and Dan were the ones who were responsible for his arrest.
At the Muller house, he abducted Joe's wife and two sons at knifepoint, subsequently placing them in a crack house frequented by Stacy Ryan, the sister of a deceased former cellmate, and a group of fellow addicts, whom he paid to keep an eye on the hostages. With Muller's family taken care of, Dale approached Joe outside a hardware store, showed him a picture and phone recording of his captive family, and blackmailed him into helping him acquire a key (needed to access a large amount of money Dale had secretly stashed during his robbing spree) in police storage. Before getting the key, Dale decided to abduct his daughter to spite his now ex-wife, stabbing Stacy (who had grown increasingly ambivalent of his plans) to death en route, and dumping her body on the side of a road. Dale abducted Jenny while Connie was away from home, and placed her in a cabin near the Canadian border. Jenny's abduction was what called in the BAU, who created a profile for him.
A few hours after taking his daughter, Dale is tracked down by the BAU and local police at a barn. He flees into the nearby woods, but is quickly found and tackled by Morgan, whom he bites during the resulting struggle. Morgan then subdues him with a punch, and he and Prentiss arrest him. While being hauled away, Dale tries to convince the agents to let him speak to his daughter, who was rescued, but is denied the chance. While Prentiss and Detective Bunting are driving him in for booking, Dale, growing annoyed by the two belittling him, unbuckles his seatbelt and quotes Thomas Fuller, which surprises Prentiss, since he was profiled as not being all that intelligent. He then suddenly lurches forward, pretending to be sick. Bunting stops the car, and while he and Prentiss are distracted, Dale asks Prentiss if he is "boring" now, right before he puts his seatbelt back on. Seconds later, Joe rams the car down a hill with a utility truck. Recovering quickly, Dale strangles Bunting to death with his own handcuffs, gets the keys to them, and is helped out of the trashed car by Joe. Dale then tries to shoot Prentiss to prevent her from revealing the knowledge that he has a partner, but Joe stops him from doing so. The two then drive away in the utility truck, as Prentiss recovers, climbs out of the car, and ineffectually shoots at them.
The two abandon the truck near the border and hide out at Joe's house, where Joe stitches up a shoulder wound Dale had incurred. Learning from Joe that they won't be able to get the key to his cash stockpile until tomorrow, Dale decides to go out, making Joe drive him to Dan Otey's house. Before getting out of the vehicle, Dale nonchalantly offers Joe the chance to kill him, which Joe refuses to do. Dale knocks on Dan's door a few seconds later, and Dan's son answers. When the boy quickly closes the door at his father's order, Dale shoots through it twice, injuring Dan, who he finishes off after barging in. While Dale trashes the house, Joe forces the Otey family into another room, telling them to lock themselves in. Returning to Joe's place, Dale outlines his plan to get the key and money. He then gets into a brief fight with Joe (who wasn't aware of Dale's plan to kill Dan) after once again goading him into trying to kill him. A few hours later, the two drive into town, and Joe gets the key from police storage. As the two begin to drive where the money is hidden, Prentiss and Morgan surround them, having figured out who Joe is and Dale's plan. Dale grabs Joe and puts a gun to his head, briefly taunting Prentiss and Morgan. He then commits suicide by cop when he points his gun at Morgan, both agents shooting him in the head at the same time and killing him instantly, much to Joe's distress. Despite this, the BAU manage to track down Joe's family, after discerning Dale's connection to Stacy Ryan. Afterwards, Joe is reunited with his family.
Dale was originally believed to simply be an angry, impatient, egotistical, and disorganized killer, but, after his escape, the team realized there was more to him than that. He only seemed emotional and sloppy because of his daughter; if he is not personally attached to the crime, he is fairly efficient.
It was later realized that he has bigger plans than just taking his daughter (to spite his ex-wife) and fleeing, since he decided to stick around instead of making a run for the Canadian border. Dale likely intended to acquire a stash of money (which was never recovered after his arrest) he had hidden, and the behavior of his partner indicate that he had some sort of leverage against them, which allowed him to blackmail them into helping him in his crimes. Considering how much family appeared to mean to him, he may have taken the partner's, who was likely someone he wanted revenge on, and one of the people who had helped put him away. While he could have left Stacy Ryan's body in the alley he killed her in, he didn't, and went to the trouble of moving her, indicating he didn't want to draw attention to the area where she was (a series of abandoned buildings and crack houses that were perfect for storing hostages in).
Dale killed his victims with various methods, which usually depended on the situation. He stabbed Stacy Ryan once in the abdomen with a knife, strangled Detective Bunting to death with the chain of his own handcuffs, and killed Dan Otey by shooting him three times with a revolver. When he abducted Molly Muller and her two sons, he held them at knifepoint to keep them compliant and left them at a crack house occupied by drug addicts, whom he assigned to watch the Mullers. While he dumped the body of Stacy Ryan so it would not be seen by the crack house where the Mullers were being held captive, he would leave his later victims exactly where he killed them. No specific details have been mentioned about his bank robberies.
- Until recently, Dale's surname of Schrader was referred to as "Shrader", including in this wiki, due to an error made during the initial release of the episode's cast. Though the error has since been fixed, some sources, such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), retain this error.