Adam Wayne Hopper had successfully evaded capture by police when he threatened to shoot park rangers in Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada on Feb. 7, 2018.
But his accent gave him away as the man who three days earlier had led police on a high-speed chase in a car with Maine license plates. One of the park rangers, Meagan Martin, recognized Hopper’s accent because she, too, was from Maine.
More than three years later and back in Maine, Hopper was arrested last week for allegedly violating his supervised release on the federal convictions related to the events at Lake Mead. He was released Monday after appearing remotely in U.S. District Court in Portland on personal recognizance bail. The 39-year-old from Vassalboro remains under house arrest.
His escapades in Nevada began when he allegedly fled Maine to escape a state gun charge, according to court documents filed in Las Vegas. On Feb. 4, 2018, Hopper led police on a chase that reached speeds of 100 mph in his 2011 Hyundai Sonata. Police broke off the pursuit for safety reasons.
Three days later, on his 36th birthday, Hopper encountered the ranger from Maine in a park parking lot, the Nevada complaint said. Hopper told the rangers that his name was Gary Sounier and his birthdate was May 24, 1980. He also denied being from Maine when asked.
Hopper had his hand under his coat and appeared to be holding an object, the complaint said.
“That’s a gun pointing at you,” he told the rangers, who had drawn their weapons. Hopper turned and fled but did not brandish a gun.
He escaped again by stealing an Arctic Cat Prowler utility vehicle from a couple camping in the area, according to the complaint. He abandoned it in the desert but caught a ride on Feb. 9, 2018, into Overton, Nevada, on the north end of Lake Mead.
Hopper was arrested more than three months later on May 17, 2018, but where he was arrested and under what circumstances are not included in court documents in Nevada or Maine. He appeared before a judge in Las Vegas the next day and was ordered to be held without bail until his case concluded.
He first pleaded guilty to influencing a federal official by threat and theft within a special maritime and territorial jurisdiction — Lake Mead National Recreation Area — on Aug. 18, 2018. He was sentenced the following March to 15 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. He also was ordered to pay more than $12,000 in restitution for the utility vehicle.
Hopper worked in construction but it was unclear at his sentencing whether he would be able to return to that work or not. He suffered a back injury while awaiting sentencing in Las Vegas and gained 80 pounds, according to a sentencing memorandum filed in Nevada.
Hopper was released in June 2019 and his supervision by U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services was transferred to southern Maine in March 2020 just as the pandemic shut down the country.
He is now accused of failing to make regular restitution payments, leaving the state twice in November without permission and using fentanyl. A petition to revoke his supervised release was filed April 15.
The probation office has asked that Hopper be returned to prison for up to three years. A date for a revocation hearing has not been set.
Information on the state gun charge that allegedly caused Hopper to flee Maine was not immediately available Tuesday.