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Multiple carjacking suspect leads Ventura police on wild chase

File photo of a portion of the city of Ventura. (Google Maps)

June 29, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A 30-year-old parolee believed to be responsible for stealing at least four cars and leading Ventura police on a wild chase was arrested Wednesday.

The chase unfolded when police received a series of phone calls about a man stealing a woman's car at gunpoint in the 3400 block of Loma Vista near Ventura County Medical Center in the afternoon. Arriving officers found a woman who said the suspect, 30-year-old Jason Hopper, attempted to steal her Scion by force. She told officers she begged hopper to let her take her 6-month-old child from the car, and he complied.

Hopper allegedly fled on Loma Vista and officers gave chase. Within a minute, police said the Scion was involved in a collision. Nearby residents told officers that Hopper jumped from the moving car, allowing it to roll and collide with a parked car, while he fled into a nearby backyard. Officers set up a perimeter and searched for the suspect from yard to yard.

Officials said Hopper went into a backyard, grabbed an elderly woman and dragged her inside her home. He allegedly choked the victim and demanded money and her car keys so he could continue to flee. During the encounter the woman told her sister, who was also inside the home, to call 911. At that point, the woman said Hopper ripped the phone from the wall. The women were not hurt.

Hopper allegedly then fled with the woman's Subaru east on Loma Vista and ran through a red light at Victoria Avenue and lost control. The car went airborne, smashed into a tree and a retaining wall, then continued out of control and struck a light pole on the corner of Loma Vista and Madera Avenue.

The suspect apparently attempted to flee yet again by running into a driveway, but officers had him surrounded and took him into custody. Hopper sustained serious injuries to his arms and leg in the crash. He was transported to Ventura County Medical Center for treatment.

Police said they believe hopper, who was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon against a law enforcement officer, first arrived at Loma Vista in yet another stolen vehicle from Oxnard. Hopper abandoned that vehicle and stole a blue Mazda minivan with disabled plates at the hospital. When police began investigating the theft of the minivan, Hopper allegedly stole the Scion.

No one was injured during the alleged crime spree and no firearm was seen or found.

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