A 41-year-old Napa man is facing 13 counts of felony burglary he allegedly committed while a registered sex offender on probation, wearing a GPS tracking device on his ankle, according to Napa County Sheriff’s Capt. Leroy Anderson.
Gregory Michael Evans was arrested Nov. 14, after he voluntary went to the sheriff’s office to be interviewed by detectives in connection with a string of burglaries at 13 local wineries, Anderson said.
“He would go into a winery and claim he had been treated very poorly by the staff during a previous visit and demand to be compensated,” Anderson said.
“He was usually wearing a stethoscope around his neck and said he was a local, very prominent, either a surgeon or veterinarian with many Napa Valley friends in high places.”
Evans would allegedly bully and threaten management if he wasn’t compensated for the bad service, saying he would "spread the bad word" to his friends, Anderson said.
“He’s a big guy — 6’4”, and can be very intimidating," Anderson said.
“Because most of the wineries want to give the best customer service and just to avoid him (Evans) making a huge scene at the winery, they would refund him cash between $110 to $150 and often throw in a bottle of wine.”
Evans's scheme began to unravel Oct. 17, when a worker at one of the wineries he had hit decided to do a little detective work.
“The thing about this is that Evans used his real name at the wineries. The winery worker Googled Evans’ name on the internet and found he was a registered sex offender,” Anderson said.
“She showed his picture to her co-workers to see if Evans had visited the winery on the day he claimed he was treated badly. All of the workers said they had never seen the guy at the winery.”
The wineries have their own email scam alert system, Anderson said. “When other wineries read the email, they recognized Evans and some had also had been victims of the scam.”
The sheriff’s office was notified of the scam and by having Evans's name and using the GPS tracking device, they were able to find out where he was on those days of the alleged burglaries.
Investigators were able to track Evans down and arrange for him to come to the sheriff’s department for an interview, Anderson said.
“At first he played dumb about knowing anything about the burglaries, but after detectives were able to show him they knew he was at the wineries on the alleged days of the burglaries, and staff identified him from the sex registrant photo, he admitted to the crimes,” Anderson said.
Anderson estimates Evans received between $1,550 to $2,000 in cash and merchandise.
“He also tried the same routine at Target and they told him to get out of the store,” Anderson said.
Evans was arrested on suspicion of 13 counts of burglary by fraud and booked into the Napa County jail.
Anderson said the sheriff's department suspects there could be additional victims.
Arrest information does not indicate a conviction. For the latest reports on crime and arrests in the Napa Valley, please see our Police & Fire section, available from the News tab above and at napavalley.patch.com/police-fire.