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Former local sought in multi-state manhunt

South Boston News
Roberts
SoVaNow.com / August 09, 2017
Police are warning people to be on the lookout for an armed and dangerous suspect who was last seen in Botetourt County and may be headed to South Hill, his last known place of residence.

William Jason Roberts, 34, is wanted by police in Colorado for vehicular assault and is believed to have seriously injured a woman in an Aug. 1 domestic dispute in the state. He is also being sought by Kansas authorities after escaping police custody in a wild chase near the Wichita area last week. Days later, he surfaced in Alleghany and Botetourt counties, again managing to elude authorities there.

Police suspect that Roberts may now be in hiding in or near Salem, Va. where there is a Veterans Affairs hospital. Roberts is a former member of Marine special forces (MARSOC) who suffers from PTSD and two traumatic brain injuries, according to his father.

His last known address is 237 Pack Road, South Hill, although he has also resided in the past in Brodnax and Buffalo Junction, according to court records. He grew up in South Hill and still has family living in the area.

Authorities say Roberts has a history of being armed and should be considered extremely dangerous.

Mecklenburg Sheriff Bobby Hawkins said Roberts is believed to have stolen one or possibly two vehicles in the Botetourt County area. He was last seen driving a white Ford F-150 with Virginia tags XLT-8584, stolen from a home near Galax.

Roberts was last spotted Friday in Alleghany County by police who pursued the suspect on Route 220 into Botetourt County. Deputies lost track of the vehicle in the Iron Gate area. Since then, law enforcement has received information suggesting Roberts may be seeking sanctuary at the VA Hospital in Salem.

On Sunday, the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office said it had received information involving activity on William Roberts’ credit card at a local convenience store in Botetourt County.

The suspect is described as a white male, 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing around 200 to 240 pounds. He has brown hair, blue eyes, possibly a beard and arm tattoos. He was last seen wearing a black ball cap, tan shorts and a black shirt.

Anyone who sees a man fitting this profile should call 911 immediately.

The Aug. 1 domestic assault took place in Aurora, Colo., and reportedly left a woman in “really bad shape,” according to a local police chief who was quoted in a televised news segment by a Wichita CBS-TV affiliate.

Kansas police first came upon Roberts on Wednesday night when an officer stopped him for speeding. When the officer called for backup, Roberts sped away and set off a multi-jurisdiction chase that ended when he ran his rental vehicle through police spike strips. Ditching the vehicle, Roberts fled on foot and was able to take cover in nearby woods.

Later that evening, he is believed to have stolen a white pickup truck from a nearby business.

The next time he was spotted by police was Friday in Alleghany County.

Roberts has charges pending against him in both Mecklenburg and Halifax.

Roberts was arrested in Halifax County in December 2015 on a charge of using a sawed-off shotgun, a Class 4 felony, stemming from a March 9, 2015 incident. He is also wanted in Halifax on a separate misdemeanor charge of contempt of court. His most recent hearing in Halifax was June 1 of this year and his felony trial is slated to take place Dec. 7.

Roberts also has an outstanding capias in Mecklenburg County for violation of a suspended sentence from 2016. Court records in Mecklenburg County list him as “fugitive.”

In 2005, Roberts pleaded no contest to charges of breaking and entering, grand larceny and destruction of property in Mecklenburg County. The charges were dismissed a year later. In 2010, he was charged again in Mecklenburg County with eluding police. He pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence. Then in December 2015, he was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and improper backing or turning. He pleaded no contest to the possession charge and received a sentence of 30 days in jail to be served weekends. The other charge against him — as well as one from September 2015 for use of profane language over the airway — were dismissed.

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