Flamboyant ‘piece of burger’ viral video witness arrested for shoplifting after store owners recognize him

A flamboyant man with an unforgettable face got himself arrested after a local store owner recognized him being interviewed on television about a car crash involving a police officer.

Courtney Barnes, 31, jumped at the chance for 15 minutes of fame after he witnessed a police chase in Jackson, Mississippi, giving an interview to a WLBT reporter that has been described as the “interview of the year.”

The interview went viral on social media, garnering over 1.5 million views on WLBT’s Facebook page by Wednesday, according to the Clarion-Ledger, making Barnes an instant celebrity known as “piece of burger”—a moniker taken from his over-the-top description of the car chase that injured a local police officer.

Read more: ‘Like a tornado, girl!’ Crash witness gives most hilarious account, becomes Internet sensation

“I just stopped… because my hunger just went away,” Barnes said.  “When I seen that accident, I just had to understand that someone was experiencing this difficult moment – ma’am, I just cannot continue to bear to talk.”

But fame has its price, and in Barnes’ case, the cost is getting booked at the Ridgeland Police Department, where he was arrested in connection with at least $1,600 in allegedly unpaid fines, mostly traffic-related, and a contempt-of-court charge.

He was also charged by the Jackson Police Department in a shoplifting case, according to The Daily Mail.

According to police, Barnes bears a “striking resemblance” to a shoplifting suspect who was caught on surveillance cameras in April taking items, including a hat, from a clothing store.  With green hair, eye makeup, and 2-inch-long green fingernails, Barnes is hard to mistake for anyone else.

Swell-O-Phonic posted a photo of a screen capture from its video camera to Instagram five weeks ago.

This thief is wanted for shoplifting. If you have any information on them please private message us.

A photo posted by Swello (@swellophonic) on

Barnes offered an apology via a video posted to Instagram on Thursday.

Plz repost thanks

A video posted by Courtney Barnes (@kingdance_) on

Swell-O-Phonic responded with its own Facebook post.

“Say what you want, but it does not change the fact that no matter who you are, what color you are, how you are – if you steal from Swell-o-phonic or any other independent community-minded company, you will get busted,” the post read.

“We wish Courtney the best as he hopefully gets the help he needs to change his ways. That’s all folks.”

Barnes faces a hearing in Ridgeland court on June 23.

Steve Berman

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