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Undercover sting ensnares ex-sheriff's deputy for theft, burglary in Oregon County MO

January 14, 2011|by KY3 News

ALTON, Mo. -- A former Oregon County sheriff’s deputy is charged with stealing items worth more than $15,000 in more than 10 burglaries at homes, businesses and a state transportation department barn over the past several months.  The Missouri State Highway Patrol arrested Gene Barton on Thursday after a detective says an undercover officer paid him $5,000 for stolen property.

Barton, 47, is charged with four counts of burglary and four counts of stealing.  A news release from the Highway Patrol says investigators recovered numerous items at Barton's home.

Barton is charged with breaking into the home of Randall Combs near Alton and stealing a four-wheeler last Dec. 4; breaking into the home of Don Ross in Oregon County and stealing a welder, two generators and a battery charger last Oct. 13; breaking into Brad’s Bike Shop in Alton and stealing four new chainsaws last Oct. 13; and breaking into a Missouri Department of Transportation building near Alton and stealing a plasma cutter, two hammer drills, a hand grinder, and a battery charger last Aug. 13.

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According to the probable cause statement used as the basis of the charges, Barton sold stolen property to an undercover agent on Thursday morning.  A Highway Patrol aircraft followed him to his home and he was arrested 10 minutes after the sale. 

A detective says Barton confessed after his arrest that he stole property and hid it at his home. 

“He named at least seven different locations he had stolen property from at least on ten different occasions,” the detective wrote. 

A judge set Barton’s bond at $30,000.  If he’s convicted, he could face a prison sentence up to seven years for each of the eight charges.

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