Alleged SF serial predator Bill Gene Hobbs has spent plenty more time in the headlines lately than in custody, though he was arrested Friday not long after a warrant was issued for him Friday morning.
34-year-old alleged serial sexual predator Bill Gene Hobbs has been well-known to the SF criminal justice system, and in the media, since a string of alleged sexual assaults in Glen Park last summer (including the alleged stalking and grabbing of a 15-year-old). There have since been plenty of other allegations of his groping, grabbing, and attempting to kiss women on SF streets, and he caused a ruckus at a Polk Street sports bar last weekend, but police let him go saying they lacked probable cause. Yet his cases keep getting tossed and his charges dismissed. The pattern has continued under both the previous DA Chesa Boudin and the current DA Brooke Jenkins.
Let’s hope this time is different. The Chronicle reports that an arrest warrant for Hobbs was issued Friday morning, and by Friday afternoon, he had been taken into custody. Per KTVU, Hobbs was arrested on the 3200 block of Van Ness Avenue on Friday.
Hobbs is described, per the Chronicle, as “standing 6-foot-4, sporting a buzz cut and covered in tattoos, including the letters E-V-I-L inked on his fingers.” And the Chronicle has been publishing his photo for the last two weeks.
BREAKING: A San Francisco judge has issued a warrant for the arrest of Bill Gene Hobbs for allegedly grabbing, chasing and forcibly kissing numerous women and girls around the city. https://t.co/K4evN8Hbi5— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) October 14, 2022
SFPD’s release said the arrest warrant was for: “On Friday, October 14, 2022, a San Francisco Superior Court judge issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Hobbs on the following charges: felony false imprisonment (236 PC), six counts of battery (242 PC), two counts of assault (240 PC), four counts of public nuisance (372 PC), and three counts of sexual battery (243.4(e)(1) PC).”
Bill Gene Hobbs, a 34-year-old man who’s allegedly terrorized women and girls around San Francisco can now be arrested.https://t.co/hvB694TP39— The San Francisco Standard (@sfstandard) October 14, 2022
“Hobbs will be held accountable for the harassment and crimes he committed against women across San Francisco,” DA Jenkins said in a press release. “We will seek pre-trial detention because he is a public safety threat, and we must send a strong message that this type of behavior and harassment will not be tolerated.”
Jenkins neglects to mention she has twice dismissed his cases in her brief three months in office.
Jenkins added in a statement, "I think what has helped is the number of victims  who have come forward. It certainly helps to build a case to see a pattern of conduct, so someone can't make an excuse in one situation that it was harmless or unintentional."
Investigators have linked Bill Gene Hobbs to 14 incidents dating back to Sept. 2021. He's accused of chasing, touching and even kissing women on the street in broad daylight. https://t.co/SJ0fp0AEs7— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) October 14, 2022
It also seems fairly clear from witnesses that Hobbs's mental health is in question, and we'll see how this plays out.
The reporting on this one has been unusual. The Chronicle’s Heather Knight has done tenacious work in covering the Hobbs situation — though Knight previously also helped elevate Jenkins as the face of the Boudin recall with a series of flattering articles. And the story of this warrant for Hobbs was clearly fed specifically to Knight as an “exclusive,” with advance interviews already in the can. The press releases from the DA and SFPD announcing the warrant did not go out until about 30 minutes after the Chronicle published.
Anyone with further information about Hobbs is asked to call the SFPD tip line at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD. You may remain anonymous.
Related: West Portal Stalking Case In Which Charges Were Dropped Provides More Fodder For SF Criminal Justice Critics [SFist]
Image: Cocoablini via Wikimedia Commons
This post has been updated throughout following Hobbs's arrest.