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How not to cash a faux check

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Success at any enterprise requires persistence, ingenuity and at least a minimal amount of intelligence. Sonoma police are now looking for a man who may be deficient in all three qualities after he tried unsuccessfully to cash a fraudulent check at Exchange Bank.

The enterprise began at about 4 p.m. on Nov. 13 when the would-be con man showed up at the Exchange Bank office on West Napa Street seeking to cash a check for $2,875, drawn on the account of “Wheeler Properties, LLC, a Healdsburg real estate firm.

The bank teller, who noticed a number of mistakes on the check, asked the man for identification, which he provided. Having crossed that hurdle, the teller then asked the man to provide a thumbprint, which he also provided.

But, at some point, the weight of identifying evidence mounting at the teller’s window must have begun to bear like a painful burden on the man with the fraudulent check. He abruptly turned and walked away. But he left behind his check, his ID and his thumbprint.

Which means that police, who are now looking for the unsuccessful thief, should not have too much trouble tracking him down.

In other incidents reported to Sonoma police:

Saturday, Nov. 9:

12:16 a.m. – On meth, can’t pee. While on patrol in the vicinity of Harley Street and Highway 12, an officer saw two bicyclists without lights. After making a U-turn, the officer pulled over the bicyclists and noticed that one of them displayed symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance. The 26-year-old Boyes Hot Springs resident at first denied that he had been using methamphetamine, but after the officer reported two outstanding warrants against the suspect cyclist, he admitted to using meth. The man offered to give a urine sample, but was unable to provide one. He then gave a written statement and was charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance.

8:30 p.m. – Choker gets scissor-stabbed. Officers were sent to a residence in the 500 block of White Briar Drive following the report of a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, they could hear yelling and screaming from inside the residence.

The officers tried to make entry and finally kicked the door open, finding the place covered in blood. The victim told the officers her boyfriend had choked her and that she therefore stabbed him in the arm with a pair of scissors. The suspect escaped out the back door but was collared by officers waiting in the back yard. The victim told the officers that the boyfriend threatened to kill her, and was choking her when they arrived.

The boyfriend, Raymond Johnson, 41, of Sonoma, was charged with felony false imprisonment, felony assault with a deadly weapon, felony domestic assault with injury, felony attempting to dissuade a witness and committing a felony while on bail. Johnson was taken to the hospital to have his stab wound patched and then transported to county jail.

Sunday, Nov. 10:

2 a.m. – A really large vodka and cranberry. After a Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over a motorist in the area of Fifth Street West and Church Street for speeding and crossing over the yellow line, the deputy called for a Sonoma police officer to make a driving under the influence arrest. The motorist, a 24-year-old Sonoma woman, told the officer that she had consumed one vodka and cranberry drink over the course of an hour. But her preliminary alcohol screening indicated that the one drink must have been a very large one, or that she had lost count after consuming several. That’s because she registered a blood alcohol level of .143 on a breath test. She subsequently asked to provide a blood sample and was then arrested for driving under the influence.

8:05 a.m. – Late-night tire slasher. A resident in the 500 block of Lasuen Street, reported that sometime overnight, someone punctured three tires on the victim’s truck.

4:45 p.m. – Is that a syringe in your underwear? While on patrol on Lomita Avenue, an officer spotted a man he knew was on probation riding a bike. He stopped the bicyclist, who had search and seizure terms in his probation, and discovered that the 26-year-old man had a syringe in his underwear. The man was cited for a probation violation and possession of drug paraphernalia.

7:15 p.m. – Is that a pipe in your pocket? While on patrol, an officer spotted an individual known to police as a “frequent flier” sitting on a bench on the bike path near Junipero Serra Drive. When the officer shined a light on the man, he got up and started walking toward the officer. The man, who was wearing two pairs of pants, told the officer that he didn’t have any weapons but he did have a pipe that somebody had shoved into his pants pocket. The 37-year-old Sonoma man was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Monday, Nov. 11:

5:57 p.m. – Resisting after hours. The skate park in Maxwell Farms Regional Park is closed at dusk and when, because of recent nefarious activity, an officer was present and spotted a young man there, he attempted to question individual. But instead of cooperating, the 21-year-old man screamed that he was being harassed. The man remained defiant during a pat search and then spun around on the officer, who took the man to the ground. Smelling marijuana, the officer found a nearby roach. The man then told the officer he had just been released from a mental hospital. He was arrested on charges of obstructing or resisting and being in the park after hours.

Wednesday, Nov. 13:

12:30 a.m. – A not-so-merry-man-of-meth. Officers were sent to the 7-Eleven on West Napa Street on a a report of a suspicious person. The clerk explained that a customer had walked in and out of the store numerous times and was asking about a robbery. Officers detained the man who was fidgety and spoke rapidly, and finally admitted he was a chronic meth user. He told the officers he could see men with guns. The officers arrested him for being under the influence of a controlled substance and a probation violation. The 37-year-old Santa Rosa resident refused a drug test telling officers he had just been released from custody three days earlier and faces a four-year-term if he’s violated for his probation. He was taken to county jail.

1:12 p.m. – Pot in pack at creek. An officer at Sonoma Valley High School noticed four students walking toward the creek. By the time the officer got to the creek, he smelled marijuana, and one of the students admitted it was his and there was a joint in his backpack. The 17-year-old El Verano resident was cited for possession of marijuana on school grounds.

Thursday, Nov. 14:

2 p.m. – Unlocked, unspecified computer equipment – gone. A resident in the 700 block of First Street West reported that sometime overnight, someone stole computer equipment from his car.The man said he parked his car in front of his residence the evening before, but wasn’t sure if he locked it. Missing was a black leather bag that contained unspecified computer equipment.

10:16 p.m. – You can hide but, well, actually, you can’t hide. While on patrol in the vicinity of Highway 12 and Verano Avenue, an officer noticed a pedestrian who was apparently trying to hide from him. The officer shined a light in the area and recognized the man as a probationer who was on search and seizure terms. While patting the man down, the officer found a small piece of torn plastic that contained a white crystalline substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. Sean Paul McCartney, 38, of Sonoma, was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and a probation violation. He was taken to county jail.