The bank robbery at the Sonoma Wells Fargo last Saturday, which ended two blocks away with the arrest of the alleged perpetrators outside St. Francis Solano Church, was the final act of a four-week series of attempted holdups and burglaries – both successful and unsuccessful, armed and unarmed – in nearby Napa, Benicia and, ultimately, Sonoma.
This, according to a press information sheet distributed by the Napa Police Department late Monday, Sept. 11, following the arrest of Catrina Hockney, 34, and Miguel Maravilla, 45, on felony robbery charges.
“We felt it was important for the community in a couple different counties to know what we had done to get them in custody, and prevent further crimes,” said Lt. Brian Campagna of the Napa Police Department, explaining the unusually detailed press release.
The record began almost a month earlier, on Sunday, Aug. 13, in Napa, when just after 7 a.m. an employee at Lola’s Market on Old Sonoma Road called 911 and “reported excitedly that there were two subjects inside a vehicle with masks on in front of their business.” It was also reported that at least one of the subjects was “armed with firearms in the back of the waistband.”
The alert employees simply locked the door of the Latino grocery store, and the suspects were unable to enter.
But an hour later, Napa Police patrol officers stopped a vehicle that matched the description they had received from Lola’s. The vehicle had a cloth or nylon bag covering the license plate, which when removed was found to have two eye-holes, as if the bag was intended to be used as a mask.
Marvilla and Hockney were in the vehicle when it was stopped, but the two were let go – though their vehicle was towed for expired registration. When asked why the Napa Police had not detained the couple at that point, Campagna stated he was unable to elaborate on this or other matters outlined in the department’s press release. "I"m not going to release any more on that," he said.
Two weeks later, again on a Sunday, Aug. 27, a female entered another Mexican market the west side of Napa – Pueblo Market on West Pueblo Avenue – just before 10 a.m. Her face covered by a scarf, she pulled out what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun from her waistband and robbed the clerk of an undisclosed amount of money.
Ten days later, on Thursday, Sept. 6, a man attempted to rob the Amigos Market on Solano Avenue, another west side Mexican market. For undisclosed reasons, he was unable to complete the robbery.
But that same night, at 6:30, the Taco Bell in Benicia was also the scene of an attempted robbery by a man who matched the description in the Amigos attempt earlier that day. The two attempts became linked when witness descriptions and surveillance video reviewed by Napa Police showed the same vehicle, a tan pickup, was present at both crimes.
From the video, police were able to identify the vehicle as a tan 2007 Chevrolet pickup truck, which they located, unoccupied, early in the morning of Friday, Sept. 8. It was registered to Catrina Hockney of Napa.
That led to a rolling surveillance of the vehicle, as the two suspects drove around Napa, American Canyon and, on Saturday, Sept. 9, to Sonoma. Napa Police described the activity of the vehicle and its drivers as “they appeared to case numerous banks and businesses,” though again Campagna was unable to elaborate on the methodology of the surveillance.
By the afternoon of that Saturday, Napa Police and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office had been “working in close coordination” for several hours. When the 911 call came in from the bank, Sonoma sheriff’s deputies were able to respond quickly, surrounding the tan Chevy truck on Third Street West at the intersection of West Napa Street.
There, guns drawn, they removed first Maravilla from the driver’s seat and then, once he was immobilized on the ground, Hockeny from the rear seat of the truck cab.
When pulled from the cab, she was partially clothed, apparently caught in the act of changing attire following the Wells Fargo robbery. She also had what may have been the robbery note in her mouth, according to witnesses and an anonymous video. She, too, was taken to the ground and immobilized.
Both Hockney and Maravilla were arrested on felony charges of robbery and conspiracy (two or more people plotting a crime), and are currently at the Sonoma County Detention Center with a bail of $500,000 each. Their plea date is set for Tuesday, Sept. 26.
But the saga doesn’t end there. As a result of their arrest, Napa Police exercised a search warrant on their residence in Napa and obtained evidence linking them to crimes under investigation in Napa and Benicia.
They did not, however, find the semi-automatic pistol described as being used in several of the crimes. But from confinement, Hockney directed a third party to contact Hockney’s mother, Shontaine Brayton of Napa, to go to the house and retrieve an item overlooked in the police search.
“She does everything for everyone,” Hockney is quoted in describing her mother, a social work volunteer, in a 2012 Napa Register article.
At 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 11, Brayton was arrested leaving the residence carrying what was described as “a handgun in a bucket.” She was arrested on felony conspiracy and accessory charges, and booked.
The legal system of Napa County is now seeking arrest warrants for Hockney and Maravilla and they will apparently be charged in that jurisdiction with several counts of attempted robbery, armed robbery and conspiracy.
Email Christian at email@example.com.