Counterfeit Chihuly ring smashed open

SPOKANE, Wash. -

A Spokane art collector is now a key witness in the federal trial of a Seattle area man, charged with selling fake Chihuly artwork. 

This week, 35-year old Michael Little was arrested by Renton police for trafficking counterfeit goods. 

The investigation started in February, when federal agents were notified of counterfeit Chihuly pieces being sold across the state. 

Counterfeit Chihuly ring smashed open

Dale Chihuly is a world renowned glass artist. 

According to court documents, James Coombes bought $22,000 worth of what he thought were authentic Chihuly pieces from Little in 2012. 

Coombes, who lives in Spokane, planned to donate the pieces to Gonzaga. 

When Coombes attempted authenticate the pieces, it became clear they were not the real deal. 

From his Seattle studio, Dale Chihuly talked about the case with KXLY sister station, KOMO-TV. 

"I don't mind when people copy my work, I don't like it when people forge my signature," Dale Chihuly said. 

Little now faces five years in prison. 

Coincidentally, real Chihuly pieces are on display right now at the Jundt Art Museum at Gonzaga.  The exhibit runs until July 31st.