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Barber charged with shoplifting wine

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Rowan County Commissioner Jon Barber has been charged with misdemeanor larceny in connection with the April theft of a bottle of wine.
The SBI issued the criminal summons Monday, and Special Agent Sam Gregory personally served it Tuesday to Barber, 51, of 335 Umberger Road in Mount Ulla.
The summons states that there is probable cause to believe that on April 10, Barber stole a $2.99 bottle of Wild Irish Rose wine from the Rushco convenience store located at 601 W. Jake Alexander Blvd. in Salisbury.
His court appearance has been set for July 6 in Rowan County District Court.
Local and SBI officials confirmed in early May that Barber was a suspect in the state agency’s investigation.
The Salisbury Police Department took a report from an employee at a Jake Alexander Boulevard convenience store that someone stole the bottle of wine and drank it in the men’s bathroom around 6 a.m. on a Sunday.
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins said at the time that officers determined surveillance video of the incident showed Barber as a suspect.
Collins told the Post that District Attorney Brandy Cook called on the SBI to investigate in order to avoid any appearance of conflict, because Barber is a public official and his brother is a former law enforcement officer.
This is Barber’s second charge this year. He was charged in May with driving while impaired and failing to maintain lane control after reporting that he crashed his car into a ditch along Graham Road at N.C. 150.
Barber failed a field sobriety test and refused an alcohol breath test, so he was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center for blood to be drawn, according to an arrest warrant.
He is set to appear in court for that charge on Aug. 2 and this week attended his first meeting of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners after saying he was entering an alcohol rehabilitation program.
In June 2008, Barber pleaded guilty to driving while impaired in a separate incident and was sentenced to two years of probation.
He was found in February of that year passed out in his car near the corner of Sherrills Ford and Long Branch roads. His blood-alcohol content measured .18, more than double the legal limit of .08.
Barber resigned from his teaching job with the Rowan-Salisbury School System in May 2010 amid allegations he showed up to his classroom intoxicated.

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