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Suspected Santa Rosa counterfeiter arrested again

A Santa Rosa man out on bail after a recent arrest for suspected counterfeiting was picked up in Sebastopol on Thursday after he allegedly passed a fake $100 bill at an art and gift shop south of downtown, Sebastopol police said.

Thomas Smart, 43, exchanged a Benjamin for just a few dollars worth of merchandise at Art Changes Life on Gravenstein Highway South late Thursday afternoon and already had gone out the door when the store owner examined the currency closely and realized it was counterfeit, police Sgt. Greg Devore said.

The owner confronted Smart outside, but the suspect just walked away down a foot path along the highway, police said.

The merchant called 911 and provided a description, and responding officers soon spotted Smart walking a few blocks away, police said.

He did not have any other fictitious bills on him, but the gallery merchant identified him as the man who had been in the store earlier, Devore said.

A check on Smart's record also revealed an arrest in Rohnert Park about six weeks earlier for suspected use of a counterfeit bill, police said.

Smart was arrested again and booked into the Sonoma County Jail for suspected use of a fictitious bill and commission of a felony while out on bail.

He was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail, jail personnel said.

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