The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Man arrested after alleged crime spree


A suspect that had been at large for a month in a series of violent crimes was apprehended in Lake Isabella on last Sunday after a short pursuit, Shafter police said.

William Hopkins, 44, was located by Kern Valley deputies while riding on a stolen motorcycle. Hopkins fled on foot after crashing the motorcycle, but deputies caught up with him and took him into custody a short while later.

According to Shafter Police Chief Kevin Zimmermann, this suspect is wanted for a series of crimes that took place in and around Shafter, including kidnapping, rape and carjacking, as well a couple of vehicle thefts,

“We think there might be other crimes that he might be involved in, but the first crime that we can verify his involvement is on May 30, where Mr. Hopkins is suspected of a carjacking,” Zimmerman said.

On June 13, there was a car theft, with displaying of a weapon that is being attributed to Hopkins. The very next day, on June 14, according to Zimmermann, Hopkins kidnapped and raped a victim, as well as robbery.

The crime spree continued on June 22 with a robbery with a handgun. Zimmermann said that they collected evidence at each crime scene, including fingerprints, latent evidence that was found and turned it over to the Kern County District Attorney Crime Lab.

The crime lab put the case as a top priority and worked the evidence to get a conclusion as soon as possible. “The Crime Lab did an amazing job and we were very fortunate that they gave our case top priority, so instead of waiting for weeks for a result, we had results very quickly.”

On July 8, with their suspect now identified, it seemed the search was over. Hopkins was spotted in a stolen vehicle in Bakersfield on July 8. Hopkins then led officers on a chase and wrecked the vehicle. He ended up getting away from the scene.

Ultimately, on July 22, Hopkins was seen on the stolen motorcycle by Kern Valley deputies. Hopkins will be charged with series of crimes, including the car jacking, car thefts, kidnapping, rape, terrorist threats and robbery.

The investigation is ongoing.


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