May 29, 2009

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Cop guilty of being ringleader in major shoplifting gang

GOSHEN – A Montgomery Town Police officer, who headed up a large scale shoplifting operation, pled guilty in Orange County Court on Thursday.

Clifford Barber, Jr., 42, of Montgomery, headed up the operation which saw the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart stores in Orange County, said District Attorney Frank Phillips. Other police officers were also involved and two previously pled guilty.

Barber pled guilty to grand larceny in the second degree, conspiracy in the fourth degree and filing false tax returns.

Phillips’ office recommended to Orange County Court Judge Robert Freehill that Barber be sentenced to 10 years in state prison, but the judge indicated that when he sentences him next month, he will give him up to four years.

“We believe that a longer sentence is mandated by the fact that this individual and some of his co-conspirators were police officers and that the theft involved hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said. A lesser sentence sends out “a wrong signal to the people of Orange County” because Barber was a cop, said Phillips.

Two other officers, one from Tuxedo Park and the other from Montgomery, were also involved in the caper.

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