A convicted sex offender – and the subject of a Canada-wide warrant and 10-day search by police – was arrested just outside a Vancouver Police station as an off-duty officer was arriving to work Tuesday morning.
Vancouver Police Sgt. Steve Addison said Randall Hopley was standing near the front doors of the police station at Main Street and East Cordova in the city’s Downtown Eastside around 6 a.m. when an off-duty officer in civilian clothes was arriving to work.
He said Hopley was arrested “without incident” on outstanding warrants, including the Canada-wide warrant and failing to appear in court last week.
Addison said he couldn’t comment on if Hopley was planning to turn himself in when he was found by the officer.
“I’m not going to speak or speculate on what his intention was or about any statements that Hopley has made to us since his arrest, but those are the circumstances of his arrest.”
Addison said there is the possibility of recommendations of new criminal charges. Vancouver Police will also be recommending that Hopley remain in custody rather than returning to a halfway house.
Hopley, 58, fled his halfway house and removed his electronic monitoring bracelet on Nov. 4. He was wanted Canada-wide, but on Friday police said they were searching locations all over the city where he was believed to frequent.
There were at least 18 full-time investigators on the case, looking into more than 80 tips.
He said investigators are currently speaking with Hopley to find out what he’s been doing in the last 10 days, why he was in the area Tuesday morning and to find out more about his actions and his intentions.
Hopley was laying low, Addison said, but intense pressure made it difficult for him to survive. Police believe he was taking deliberate steps to avoid detection, but there is no indication anyone was helping him stay hidden.
“We know he’s a bit of a loner, doesn’t have a wide circle.”
With a history of sexual assault, assault and property crime convictions, Hopley has committed three sexual offences against children in the past.
He is known for having abducted a three-year-old boy from his Sparwood home in 2011, for which Hopley was sentenced to six years in prison. The toddler was returned home four days later, unharmed.
Hopley had been living in the community under a long-term supervision order, but he was arrested about one year ago by the VPD following an investigation by its high-risk offender unit. He was taken into custody and ultimately released back into the community.
It was then, Addison said, that police were notified that Hopley was being outfitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Addison said police “absolutely understand and share the fear and uneasiness that results in a case like this.”
“We also understand there are important conversations that are happening now about the system that allowed Hopley to live in the community and whether changes need to be made to that system.”
– With files from The Canadian Press