Judge Sandra West of Shannon County will hear the case against former deputy Dophes "Gene" Barton, 47, of rural Alton. Barton was arrested minutes after allegedly selling stolen property for $5,000 to an undercover officer, according to court records.
The Missouri Highway Patrol, which investigated the case, reported using aircraft to track Barton from the undercover sale to his home near Alton.
Barton was charged Jan. 14 with four counts each of second-degree burglary and theft, all Class C felonies. He is accused of stealing tools, a Honda all-terrain vehicle, a welder, generators and several chain saws from August to December 2010 from homes and businesses in and near Alton.
The patrol reported a total of about $15,000 in merchandise and the $5,000 in cash from the buy was recovered from Barton's home.
Undercover officers from the patrol's Rural Crimes Investigation Unit reported buying more than 20 items from Barton that had been stolen from Alton homes and businesses, including four new chain saws from Brad's Bike Shop, and the Missouri Department of Transportation shed in Alton.
According to authorities, Barton may have been responsible for 10 local break-ins including those at Brad's Bike Shop and the Missouri Department of Transportation shed.
According to a probable cause statement, Barton admitted stealing property from at least seven locations from August to December 2010.
"He was immediately terminated," Oregon County Sheriff George Underwood said of Barton's arrest. "It was a real blow to the rest of the staff. This is a bad reflection on us and all of law enforcement. We are sick about it," Underwood continued. "The important thing to remember is that we did the right thing -- to get him arrested and seek justice."
Barton is an Alton-area native and joined the sheriff's department in 1996, the same year he pleaded guilty in Oregon County District Court to a Class A misdemeanor wildlife charge, according to online court documents.
Listed as "deputydog63" on the online social site, Myspace, Barton's profile described Alton as "a place where everybody knows everybody, and I like that."
The profile went on to say that he is "far from perfect, but tries to be a good person" and listed the Bible as his favorite book.
"I will say I'm a bad boy when I get on my 750 Katana, she goes way too fast," the profile stated. "One of these times I will have to stop myself and give me a ticket. But then I would probably talk myself out of it."
Immediately following his arrest, Barton was held at the West Plains Police Department before posting bond of $30,000. West Plains officials said Barton was held there "to be separate from" inmates in the Oregon County jail.