Walla Walla burglary suspect faces 24 counts in crime spree

Charged with drug offenses, Dakota Hopkins now faces theft charges.

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WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office intends to charge a man suspected of committing a recent rash of commercial burglaries with a total of 24 crimes.

Dakota M. Hopkins initially was arrested Saturday and charged with possessing methamphetamine and using drug paraphernalia. He then allegedly confessed to a string of eight Walla Walla burglaries.

Therefore, a hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 19 in Superior Court to add 22 counts to the existing drug charges.

The additional charges include eight counts of second-degree burglary, one count of second-degree malicious mischief, seven counts of third-degree malicious mischief, three counts of second-degree theft, one count of second-degree attempted theft and two counts of third-degree theft.

The burglary charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The degrees of the lesser charges of theft and malicious mischief are based on the dollar amount of loss each business sustained.

Hopkins, 23, of 416 Willard St., Waitsburg, is being held in the County Jail in lieu of $55,000 bail.

The Walla Walla burglaries began July 17 when, officials believe, Hopkins and perhaps someone else or other people cut the padlock on the front door of Spence Tire Service, 519 W. Main St., and rummaged through the business.

The following morning, Greiner’s Radiator Exchanges at 307 N. Colville St. was entered in a similar manner, according to a police report filed in court.

Bacon & Eggs, 503 E. Main St., was burglarized July 19. A laptop computer and money were stolen from there.

Authorities said evidence against Hopkins was discovered at the next place to be hit, the Walla Walla Community College. A custodian interrupted two people who pried open a door and tried to pry open others in the early morning hours of July 21. A surveillance video tagged a vehicle entering and leaving the parking lot as registered to Hopkins, according to the police report.

Later in July and the first of August, A Wing and a Prayer BBQ & Catering at 201 E. Main St., Franz Bakery Outlet at 1580 E. Alder St. and restaurants Taqueria Yungapeti at 320 S. Ninth Ave. and Rosita’s at 1005 S. Ninth Ave., were broken into with money taken from and property damaged at most locations.

A total of about $3,590 in cash and other items were stolen, and the businesses sustained damages estimated at $2,200, according to police.

A news release said, “It is unusual to have this many commercial burglaries in such a short period of time. Police officers were called in on overtime and adjusted their shift schedules to work a downtown emphasis in plain clothes in hopes of catching the suspect(s).”

Police said the investigation is continuing. Hopkins is the only suspect to face charges so far.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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