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Sex offender Hopley turned himself in at VPD station 'because he was cold': police

Vancouver police say the 10-day manhunt for a high-risk sex offender ended when he turned up outside a police station to turn himself in because he was feeling cold.
Randall Hopley is shown in an undated police handout photo. Vancouver police say the wanted sex offender has been arrested. A statement from police says Hopley was picked up at about 6 a.m. on the city's Downtown Eastside and is now in custody. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Police *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Vancouver police say the 10-day manhunt for a high-risk sex offender ended when he turned up outside a police station to turn himself in because he was feeling cold.

Randall Hopley, who disappeared after reportedly cutting off his ankle monitor, was recognized and arrested by an off-duty officer who was about to start his shift at the Downtown Eastside station.

The "intense focus" on Hopley's whereabouts likely forced him to "lay low" and kept him in the area where he was eventually arrested early Tuesday, police spokesman Sgt. Steve Addison told a news conference.

"His information was everywhere and we believe that that caused him to essentially go to ground and lay low. Ultimately, after 10 days, he likely ran out of options, and that led to his arrest," he said.

"So while 10 days is 10 days too long, we're pleased and we're relieved that he is back in custody. And we'll be working to keep him there."

Addison said in an email after the news conference that investigators had since spoken to Hopley "and we can confirm that his intention was to turn himself in because he was cold."

He told the news conference that police will make recommendations through Crown counsel that Hopley be denied bail and remain in custody.

The 58-year-old walked away from his halfway house on Nov. 4., and police said he cut off his electronic monitoring device a short time later.

At the time, officers said they believed he was worried about an upcoming court appearance and he feared he would be returned to custody.

Hopley had completed a six-year prison term for the 2011 abduction of a three-year-old boy in southeastern B.C.

He was released in 2018 and was living at the halfway house under a 10-year long-term supervision order but was arrested in January for allegedly violating conditions of the order by visiting a library and getting too close to children. He was on bail for that charge when he disappeared.

Addison said Hopley was likely travelling alone and may have taken steps to disguise his appearance. He said it's not believed anyone helped Hopley avoid capture on a Canada-wide warrant.

Hopley was arrested on Tuesday for again breaching his supervision order, as well as failing to appear in court last week.

Addison said there was "very real fear" in the community while Hopley was at large, and concern about the case had the potential to change the way such offenders are monitored.

"I'm not going to stand here today and editorialize about that system. We'll have conversations, we'll join in those important conversations that are happening right now," he said.

"And this arrest, this case, very well may result in significant changes to the system."

Addison said up to 25 full-time investigators worked the case while Hopley was at large, supported by dozens of other officers.

He said there were more than 80 tips from the public, involving a time-consuming checking process.

Addison said police don't have anything to suggest Hopley committed more offences while at large.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2023.

Ashley Joannou, The Canadian Press