Courtney Barnes was enjoying 15 minutes of Internet fame, until the viral witness to a car crash was arrested, Jackson, Mississippi, station WAPT reported Thursday. Barnes went to the Ridgeland Police Department to pay parking ticket fines, but was detained after officers noticed the reality star resembled someone from a shoplifting surveillance video, the Clarion-Ledger wrote.
The owner of Swell-O-Phonic in Fondren, where the alleged theft took place, posted the clip to Instagram five weeks ago. “This thief is wanted for shoplifting. If you have any information on them please private message us,” the owner, Ron Chane, wrote. IG users quickly noted the person resembled Barnes and wrote quotes from the viral video.
— Mike Evans (@crabblers) June 11, 2015
But the store doesn’t want anything to do with Barnes’ viral video. "We want to stay away from the negative attention," Chane told WAPT. "Courtney has stolen from our store and made our customers and staff uncomfortable. We just want him to stay out of our store. I hope the story gets turned back to the injured officer who deserves the attention."
Naturally, Chane isn't one of Barnes' fans. "It's all an act to get attention," the owner wrote in a Facebook comment to WLBT. "He has no regard for anyone but himself ... You've got somebody hurt in a car wreck and this loser is trying to catch his 15 seconds -- enjoy it buddy -- you'll be locked up soon."
Before Barnes was arrested, the Mississippi native posted a video to Instagram about not being “perfect” and making “mistakes.” “I do keep God first and I want everybody to know that it will work out for the better,” the viral star said. “But at the same time, let the negativity continues to come, because without negativity, we cannot do positivity.”
Though Barnes had appeared on television several times before as a “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant, the reality star's current claim to fame is the viral witness video. Sporting green hair and matching nails, Barnes told reporters he ditched going to Burger King after witnessing an accident that left a Jackson police officer injured. The unidentified officer has since recovered from the car crash.
Barnes has more than 32,000 Instagram followers and plans to continue with reality television. “Do you think your talent is good for TV such as VH1, MTV or bet if so call,” the Instagram profile reads.
Barnes was released from custody and a court date to deal with the shoplifting charge was set for June 23, the Clarion-Ledger added.
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