To catch a thief, try posting his security-camera portrait on Facebook.

After closing time at the Hopmonk in Sebastopol the other night, somebody ripped off a $10,000 Yamaha music mixing board and two lighting consoles.

As Sebastopol police launched an investigation, Hopmonk staffers did some sleuthing of their own. They posted a couple of photos of the suspect on the tavern's Facebook page and asked if anybody recognizes him.

The Facebook post quickly drew more than 3,600 shares and 280,000 views.

Leads are being worked. Perhaps the thief will pose soon for a mug shot and will learn it's uncool to steal.

Check out the suspect <a href="">here</a>

THERE'S A TEACHER at Santa Rosa's Steele Lane School, Kristie Merritt, who's a fan of what sports can do for kids.

Merritt brought to the school a basketball league for boys and girls in the fourth through sixth grades. It's a bouncing success, but Merritt wanted to do even more to inspire the kids.

Last Friday, she and some helpers took 47 Steele Lane players on a rare, evening bus trip — to the men and women's basketball games at Sonoma State University.

Mike Ogg of the SSU athletics department gave them a tour and fed them pizza. SSU athletes chatted with them and signed autographs. Men's coach Pat Fuscaldo and women's coach Mark Rigby fired them up about working hard, playing hard and doing well.

The youngsters went hoarse cheering on both the men and women Seawolves. Afterward, a kid told Steele Lane's principal, Kelley Dillon, "This is the best field trip I've ever been on!"

VIEW FROM EUROPE: SSU's Wine Business Institute played host to just a sparkling group of European winemakers and retailers enrolled in the Bordeaux School of Management's wine and spirits MBA program.

At a reception at Railroad Square's Station 1870, some of the visitors spoke about how Sonoma County is perceived from across the pond.

"It's a pity that it's not that well known abroad," said Dora Martins of Portugal's Quinta da Alorna winery.

Biliana Marinova, part of a Bulgarian winemaking family, said Napa's reputation is much better established in Europe than is Sonoma's. But she senses that's changing.

"You have a lot still to build," she said. "And you're willing to build it."

HISTORY AND RIBS: Among the winners of the weekend's National History Day competition in Santa Rosa were students from Technology High, Santa Rosa High, Elsie Allen, St. Rose, Pleasant Hill Christian and Wright.

Four teams came from Santa Rosa High, which competed in History Day for the first time last year and placed all the way up to the nationals in D.C. Each of the four teams will advance to the state competition in April in Sacramento.

To raise travel money, the SRHS history buffs will sell food at Canevari's deli from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday.

Chicken Parmesan or ribs.

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and