- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A southwestern Illinois police officer already accused of conducting burglaries while on duty faces new charges alleging he carried out more break-ins and set fire to a building that housed a state lawmaker’s office.

The nine new felonies filed Monday against Brian Barker, of Moro, include an arson count linked to the November 2013 fire that damaged the Edwardsville office of Republican Illinois state Rep. Dwight Kay. Barker, 41, also is charged with burglarizing Kay’s office and four businesses, though the criminal complaint does not specify what was taken.

The latest charges in Madison County, northeast of St. Louis, also include a money-laundering count alleging that Barker tried to sell stolen automobile parts and electronics, Madison County (Illinois) State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said.

Barker was previously charged with a dozen felony burglary counts between May 2012 and last November, with the victims including several law firms, businesses and a spa. Barker also was charged in December with one count each of aggravated possession of stolen firearms and official misconduct.

Barker remained jailed Tuesday in lieu of $300,000 bond. Online court records don’t show whether Barker has an attorney, and a phone number for Barker listed in Madison County isn’t operational.

Last week, an Edwardsville police dispatcher, 41-year-old Keri Knight of Bethalto, Illinois, was indicted on charges of theft and obstructing justice. Authorities allege Knight gave investigators false information about Barker, hid evidence and stole cash related to the probe.

Online court records don’t show whether Knight has an attorney, and her phone number is unlisted.

Barker and Knight, who is free on bond, are on administrative leave without pay, Gibbons said.

The allegations are the latest legal troubles involving the Edwardsville police force. In 2013, the city’s former police chief, James Bedell, was sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison for stealing nearly $140,000 in city funds from 2009 to 2012, including money from a department lock box that contained vehicle impound fees.

Bedell, who resigned on the day agents raided his home and office, had been with the department since 2007.

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