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Press Release

Two Men Plead Guilty for Their Respective Roles in Illegally Possessing Firearms Stolen from Jefferson County Patrol Vehicle

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

St. Louis, MO – Timothy Hopkins, 43, of O’Fallon, MO, and Richard O’Hara, 30, of Richwoods, MO, each pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Each appeared in federal court this afternoon before U.S. District Judge John A. Ross who accepted the pleas. Sentencing for both Hopkins and O’Hara has been set for August 27, 2019.

According to court documents, on June 20, 2018, Hopkins, a previously convicted felon, was arrested by a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy after leaving a gas station without paying for gasoline.  The deputy identified Hopkins as having an active arrest warrant.  Hopkins was handcuffed behind his back and placed in the front passenger seat of the patrol car.  He maneuvered his handcuffs to the front, slid over to the driver’s seat, and fled the scene by stealing the deputy’s patrol car.  In the car was a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15, and firearm magazines. 

Hopkins proceeded on a joy ride in the stolen patrol car.  He arrived at a residential home near Richwoods, Missouri, where co-defendant James Martin was temporarily living.  Hopkins identified himself, stated he was not a deputy, and asked Martin to cut off the handcuffs, which Martin did.  After cutting off the handcuffs, Hopkins gave Martin the 12-gauge shotgun and the AR-15.  Hopkins also allowed Martin to search the patrol car and take other items, including a law enforcement badge, flashlight, and multi-tool from the car.  Martin, in turn, transferred the AR-15 to Richard O’Hara, also a previously convicted felon.      

Hopkins left the Richwood area and continued to drive around Washington County, Missouri.  Air and ground units from multiple law enforcement agencies were engaged in the search for Hopkins.  Law enforcement located Hopkins on a dead-end street and blocked the road.  Hopkins, still in the stolen patrol car, reversed direction and drove through fields and along trails in wooded areas.  Numerous patrol cars sustained damage, including the stolen patrol car.  Hopkins eventually crashed the stolen patrol car in a ditch.  He escaped the vehicle by climbing through a window.  Hopkins tripped on debris and fell to the ground, enabling deputies to place him into custody.

“We are proud of the actions taken by our deputies and department to ultimately apprehend Mr. Hopkins and in assisting the U.S. Attorney’s Office in securing these convictions.  We are equally proud of the efforts, training and measures we have undertaken department-wide since this incident occurred to ensure that it does not happen again.  Stated simply, we continually strive to serve our community in a safe and professional manner,” said Jefferson County Sheriff David Marshak following today’s changes of plea. Sheriff David Marshak

Hopkins faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of not more than a $250,000.  He could receive both a prison sentence and a fine.  In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

Co-defendant James Martin pled guilty in March 2019 to possession of a stolen firearm/ammunition and will be sentenced on June 27, 2019. 

This case was investigated by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant United States Attorney Jason Dunkel is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Updated May 17, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime