OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A man accused in a statewide crime spree is now in custody, after allegedly breaking into businesses in at least six cities in almost every corner of the state and across state lines.
“The way we were able to work with each other on this is is the only reason we found him,” said Lt. Detective Vanessa Cole with the Elk City Police Department.
Elk City police said Jerome Hopkins is finally behind bars after a string of mostly restaurant burglaries across Oklahoma.
Elk City Police believe the spree started in December after local Mexican eateries were hit.
“The calls kept coming in and we had a total of five businesses that had been broken that night,” said Detective Cole.
Police posted these pictures of the suspect, with a neck tattoo, on social media hoping for leads. No luck, until officers 240 miles away in Kingston, Oklahoma posted a similar crime.
“Boom, fit the description. So I contacted Kingston Police Department, said, ‘Hey, we might have something in common here,'” said Cole. “He used the same M.O. to get inside the building.”
Detectives said the masked and gloved 33-year-old smashed his way into restaurants, crawled to a register or safe, left, then hid in his cargo van outside businesses.
“He literally was in plain sight,” said Det. Cole.
The investigation snowballed from there. Police departments in Edmond, Owasso, Muskogee, Claremore, and Fort Smith, Arkansas were all working similar cases.
Fort Smith Police said they tracked Hopkins by checking local business’s security cameras. The investigation eventually led them to a motel.
“[Hopkins] walks up to room 211, and that room was under his name,” said Detective Josh McCleod, with Fort Smith Police Department.
Detectives learned Hopkins lived in Oklahoma City. They issued an arrest warrant and OKC Police tracked him down. Investigators noted the same tattoo on his neck.
“Out here, we don’t we don’t believe in turf. We believe in teamwork,” said Chief Eddie Holland, with Elk City Police.
The chief said he believes other police department’s will see this story and start to connect the dots on local burglaries in their towns.
According to online court records, Hopkins has several burglaries in his criminal past.