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Looting charges dropped for Coal City firefighter

Published: Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 10:44 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 7:29 p.m. CDT

COAL CITY – A Coal City firefighter is back at work after charges that he looted from a store damaged by Sunday's tornado were dropped.

Michael W. Barrow, 24, of Coal City, is a part-time, on-call firefighter for the Coal City Fire Protection District.

At about 4 p.m. Sunday a deputy with the Will County sheriff’s deputies assisting with the response to the tornado observed a man and woman exiting a pick-up truck in a field near the back of the Stop and Smoke Tobacco Shop on Route 113 in Diamond, according to Kathy Hoffmeyer of the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

The truck left the area, and then the two people left the back of the store at which time the deputy followed them and made contact with the male, identified as Barrow, who had dropped two packs of cigarettes while being followed by the officer. An additional 15 packs of cigars and cigarettes on him, according to Hoffmeyer.

Barrow has family who lives in the area of the tobacco shop.

Barrow was held on probable cause for allegedly looting, Charles Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, said Monday but there was not sufficient evidence to move forward with charges.

Fire protection district spokesman Nick Doerfler said Barrow was put on paid leave but was back on duty Tuesday. The department was notified about 5 p.m. Monday that the charges were dropped, Doerfler said.

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