SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A serial robber who targeted young victims in Sonoma County was sentenced Wednesday to more than 30 years in state prison, the district attorney’s office announced.
William Drew Hodges, 54, of Rohnert Park was sentenced to serve 33 years, 8 months after his conviction last December for 11 separate robberies in 2017.
The robbery spree began in August of that year when Hodges walked into a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Shop in Santa Rosa, pointed a replica handgun at the young female clerk who was alone in the business at the time and demanded cash. That same day Hodges robbed a clothing boutique in Windsor after also pointing the replica handgun at two female victims and demanding cash.
Over the five weeks Hodges proceeded to rob eight more young victims – some still in high school – in the same manner, the district attorney’s office said. After each robbery, Hodges told the victim, “Don’t call the police. There’s someone outside watching you.”
“This defendant left a wake of victims in his path, many of them young and particularly vulnerable due to being confronted while working alone in retail settings,” said District Attorney Jill Ravitch said in a prepared statement. “The lengthy prison sentence is appropriate and hopefully provides the victims, and the community, with some measure of relief that the defendant will be in prison for many years to come.”
According to the district attorney’s office, after one incident the victims were so traumatized they crawled on their hands and knees
across the floor and locked themselves in the nearest room to avoid being seen by Hodges. Others were so shaken that even when a uniformed police officer arrived to help them they were reluctant to go outside to speak with them.
Hodges had three prior felony robbery convictions, and was on state parole after being released from prison for a felony assault with deadly
weapon conviction in 2009.
The case was investigated by the Santa Rosa Police Department and the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety, with assistance from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Cotati Police Department, Petaluma Police Department and San Rafael Police Department.