Edwardsville police officer caught stealing on duty linked to unsolved burglaries

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EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KPLR)- Police found one of their own responsible for multiple burglaries in Edwardsville, IL. Prosecutors say they caught him on video committing a burglary on duty.

Officer Brian Barker, 41, is a 20-year veteran of the Edwardsville Police Department. Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons accuses Barker of burglarizing about a dozen places. According to the state's attorney court filing, Barker targeted his own neighbor as well as businesses the officer was paid to protect.

Business owner Dave Archer showed us where a thief came in the back door of a building on St. Louis Street.

Archer said, “You could actually take your hand and put it through the hole (in the door.).”

Archer described it as brazen.

He said, “This would have made a lot of noise. You’ve got a house 50 feet away with windows on this side.”

Archer and his wife just started selling Pedego Electric Bikes in Edwardsville. He’s just three months into his new business.

He said, “It’s all new to us. We’ve never had a business before. I’m retired military.” Adding, “He took unusual things, which caused me to think, we’re talking kids here.”

Archer said the suspect took cash, a couple bike pumps, a lock and collectible Route 66 signs.

That may have helped detectives connect the dots. State’s Attorney Gibbons described Madison County Sheriff’s Deputies finding unique items in Officer Brian Barker’s home.

“There were search warrants that were executed and based on the evidence and items recovered in those search warrants, we began to draw the connections to other cases.”

According to court records, Officer Barker lives right across the street from one of his victims in rural Moro, Illinois, about 20 minutes north of Edwardsville. He was not home when we News 11 went to the house on Friday.

The serial burglary case was cracked when Reality Salon and Spa called Edwardsville Police to report its own officer. The business owner reportedly captured Officer Barker on video stealing cash on December 21st. Police handed the case to the Sheriff’s office who took it to State’s Attorney Gibbons.

Gibbons said, “I’ve dedicated my life and my career to law enforcement. It’s devastating, but you know I think of the victims in these cases, the people who have had their homes and their businesses burglarized. I think about them and the feelings they must have. I’m much more concerned about that.”

Business owner Dave Archer said he’s relieved to have what’s believed to be an answer.

“I’m glad to know the guy was caught. It was a real anomaly.”

Officer Barker is now on unpaid leave. He not only faces burglary charges, but also charges of official misconduct, because of his reported on duty burglary. The criminal filing shows six guns among the stolen items.

State’s Attorney Gibbons says Barker faces a mandatory minimum of six years, but he’ll ask for more.

He’s out on bond after someone paid $17,000 cash to get him out. That’s also under investigation to make sure it’s clean money.

Follow Chris Hayes on Twitter @ChrisHayesTV

E-mail chris.hayes@tvstl.com

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