Girl Scout cookies lead to arrest of high-speed pursuit suspect in Hemet
HEMET – A box of “Thin Mints” Girl Scout cookies led to the arrest of a subject who allegedly led Hemet Police officers on a dangerous, high-speed pursuit on Feb. 4.
The incident began at about 4:05 p.m., when officers assigned to the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force attempted to stop a motorcyclist in the 1300 block of East Florida Ave, after observing a vehicle code violation.
The motorcyclist refused to yield and sped away at a high rate of speed, at which time officers initiated a pursuit of the motorcycle. During the dangerous pursuit the motorcyclist reportedly drove without concern for the safety of citizens or pursuing officers, at times riding on the wrong side of the roadway, into oncoming lanes of traffic.
As the pursuit continued, a Hemet Police officer saw the motorcyclist throw an item into some bushes just before losing sight of him. When the motorcyclist began traveling at over 100 mph, officers terminated the pursuit for public safety reasons.
A short time later, a Hemet Code Enforcement officer reported seeing the motorcyclist driving Westbound in the 400 block of East Menlo Ave. Several citizens also called 911 to report seeing the motorcyclist drive into a mobile home park in the 600 block of North State St.
Hemet Police officers converged on the mobile home park and located the motorcycle hidden under a tarp. When officers found the motorcycle, it was so hot it was smoking, according to a press release from Hemet PD. Officers immediately located a subject who matched the description of the motorcycle rider inside the mobile home where the motorcycle was parked.
Officers who had stopped to recover the object the motorcyclist had thrown in the bushes found a box of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. The box of cookies had a note and phone number attached to it. Officers saw the note advised the buyer to call a specific number if the they wanted to buy more Girl Scout cookies.
Officers called the number listed on the note and a Girl Scout sales representative confirmed they had just sold a box of Thin Mint cookies to a motorcyclist. The sales representative told officers they could identify the motorcyclist who just purchased the cookies.
At the officer’s request, the sales representative responded to the mobile home park and identified the motorcyclist as the subject who had just purchased the cookies the officers found in the bushes. Officers identified the motorcyclist as Joseph Kopff, 31, of Hemet.
In addition to the discarded Thin Mints, officers located other evidence linking Kopff to the high-speed pursuit.
Officers arrested Kopff for two counts of recklessly evading officers, both felonies, and later transported him to the Robert Presley Detention Center. He was also booked for several misdemeanors, including resisting arrest.
Kopff was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 8, at 8:00 a.m.
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