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Missouri Man Teaches Others How to Remove Ankle Monitor, Gets Arrested

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

We're living in the information age, and there is probably no bigger online information-sharing forum than Facebook. So it was that Springfield resident Dustin Barnes, a knowledgeable man with vital knowledge to share, took to Facebook to instruct others in the modern art of ankle monitor removal.

"This is how you take an ankle bracelet off," Barnes elucidated in a Facebook video already viewed by thousands, "without breaking the circuit." And while uploading educational materials to the internet might not be a crime itself, tampering with electronic monitoring equipment is a felony in the state of Missouri. Thus, our learned lecturer was arrested.

Today's Lesson

Burns was allegedly on probation for violating a restraining order when he initially uploaded the video, captioned "Today's lesson how to remove a GPS tracking bracelet without stopping the circuit...encase [sic] anyone was curious." That video, if you're one of the curious ones, is still live, but we'll refrain from embedding it here.

Suffice it to say, Burns goes to town on the ankle device with butter knife, eventually switching to a utility tool that includes a screwdriver. "Don't damage it," he advises, "so you won't owe f***ing thousands of dollars." It takes Burns about four minutes to remove the ankle device. And it took law enforcement about a month to place cuffs on his wrists.

Tomorrow's Sentence

"A person commits the offense of tampering with electronic monitoring equipment," according to Missouri state criminal statutes, "if he or she intentionally removes, alters, tampers with, damages, or destroys electronic monitoring equipment which a court or the board of probation and parole has required such person to wear." Such tampering is a class D felony in Missouri, meaning Burns --or whoever is in the Facebook video -- is looking at up to seven years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

All for teaching his fellow man how to be free.

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