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Facebook helps lead to arrest in theft at Sebastopol pub

Posting a burglary suspect's face on Facebook has helped solve a burglary last month at HopMonk Tavern.

Sebastopol police said the popular social media site helped them crack the case.

"I think it's kind of an innovative idea," said Sgt. David Ginn. "It makes it a lot harder for criminals to hide."

On the morning of Feb. 20, staff at the Sebastopol watering hole discovered that someone had walked off with $11,000 in audio visual equipment.

Surveillance cameras caught the burglar in the act, and to help generate tips for police, staff posted a photo of the suspect on the tavern's Facebook page.

The site quickly drew more than 3,600 shares and 280,000 views. Many witnesses identified the suspect as 22-year-old Troy Spencer Smith of Santa Rosa, Ginn said.

Smith, who was already in jail on other matters, was charged Wednesday by the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office with burglary and grand theft. He remains in the Sonoma County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

A Sonoma County Superior Court judge ordered Smith jailed Feb. 21 on separate charges. They include burglary and illegal impersonation. Smith was also on probation for possession of stolen property and possession of child pornography, Ginn said.

The equipment taken from the tavern, which is also a live music venue, include a Yamaha LS9-32 channel sound mixing board and 2 lighting boards.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the stolen property should call Sebastopol police Officer Dave Harston at (707) 829-4400.


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