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October 8, 2015 - 2:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Brandon Maldonado appeared before Judge Robert C. Noonan this afternoon to learn if he might get something less than the 18 months in state prison he agreed to when he accepted a plea bargain in his animal cruelty case. 

Maldonado said he's a changed man since he was last sentenced by Noonan three years ago. He said he cares now about being a good father to his son. 

"I'm not the guy you knew before," Maldonado said. "Going to prison changed my life in a big way. Instead of doing what I want to do, I learned to do what I'm supposed to do."

At no point did Maldonado mention the dog, Rocky, he was accused of dumping scalding hot water on in July. 

When Maldonado entered a guilty plea Sept. 22 to aggravated cruelty to an animal, he did so on an Alford basis, which means he did not admit to the actions underlying the charge, just that he recognized a jury would likely find him guilty if the case went to trial. 

Noonan told Maldonado that frankly he didn't remember him from three years ago. There was nothing to distinguish him from the hundreds of other defendants he's seen since. The judge said defendants are often under the mistaken impression that an Alford plea will lead to a reduced sentence. He noted that Maldonado, while claiming to be a changed man, made no reference to the crime that brought him into court today. He called Moldonado's crime "horrific."

"It makes me shiver to think somebody could do this to a helpless animal," Noonan said. 

The judge then told Maldonado he is being sentenced to the full year and a half term negotiated as the cap under his plea deal. (Absent the deal, the longest possible sentence is two years.)

With credit for good behavior, Maldonado could be eligible for release in 12 months. 

His actual release date will also depend on the parole board. His parole stems from a prior conviction in 2013 for second-degree attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument.

October 8, 2015 - 1:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Grand Jury.

Kenneth J. Tidd II is indicted for the crime of predatory sexual assault against a child, a Class A-II felony. Tidd, being age 18 or older, is accused of committing a course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree. Between September 2013 and December 2014, over a period of time not less that three months in duration, he allegedly engaged in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which included at least one act of oral sexual conduct with a child less than 11 years old. In count two of the indictment, he is accused of predatory sexual assault against a child. In or about the spring or summer of this year, on a date prior to Sept. 19 in the City of Batavia, Tidd is accused of committing the crime of criminal sexual act in the first degree by allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct with another perosn who was less than 11 years old. In count three, he is accused of criminal sexual act in the first degree, a Class B violent felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct this spring or summer with another person who was less than 11 years old. In count four, Tidd is accused of predatory sexual assault against a child for committing, on Sept. 19 in the City of Batavia, a criminal sexual act in the first degree by allegedly engaging in oral sexual conduct with another person who was less than 11 years old. In count five, Tidd is accused of criminal sexual act in the first degree for allegedly, on Sept. 19 in the City of Batavia, engaging in oral sexual conduct with another person who was less than 11 years old.

UPDATE: This afternoon, Tidd was arraigned on this indictment and entered pleas of not guilty to all counts.  Judge Robert C. Noonan ordered him held on $50,000 bail or $100,000 bond.  He has no prior criminal record, according to his attorney.

October 8, 2015 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Stafford, bergen, batavia.

Patricia Jean Kendall-Cargill, 50, of Swamp Road, Bergen, is charged with two counts of criminal contempt, 2nd. Kendall-Cargill allegedly violated an order of protection out of Family Court on two occasions.

Heidi Marie Keller, 37, of Gillette Road, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Keller allegedly stole $35.70 worth of makeup from Walmart.

Kyle Kenneth Eldridge, 39, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation and failure to dim headlines. Eldridge was stopped at 3:34 a.m. Sunday on Route 33, Stafford, by Deputy Christopher Parker.

October 5, 2015 - 2:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, Darien, batavia, Le Roy, Oakfield.

John Roderick Benton, 57, of Colby Road, Darien, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater and obstructed plate. Benton was stopped at 12:44 p.m. Thursday,on Tinkham Road, Darien, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. Benton was allegedly driving with a BAC four times the legal limit.

Anthony James Demmer, 20, of Town Place, Oakfield, is charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, 1st. Demmer was stopped at 9:34 p.m. Sunday on North Main Street, Oakfield, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Cierra Lanae Kettles, 19, of Elmdorf Avenue, Rochester, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Kettles allegedly threatened another person while at a party at 12:30 a.m. Saturday on East Main Street, Batavia.

Christopher Reynaldo Santos, 21, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Santos allegedly stole merchandise from Kohl's Department Store.

Raymer Antonio Leonardo, 19, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Leonardo allegedly stole merchandise from Kohl's Department Store.

Nolan Robert Powless, 18, of East Center Street, Medina, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, operation of a motor vehicle by an unlicensed driver and no plate lamps. Powless was stopped at 2:27 a.m. Saturday on West Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Powless was allegedly wanted on a warrant out of Orleans County, so he was taken into custody and turned over to State Police.

Erin Marie VanDorn, 27, of Bennett Road, Alexander, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle, failure to stop for a stop sign and unsafe lane usage. VanDorn was stopped at 12:36 a.m. Saturday on Buffalo Street, Alexander, by Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello.

Shaun Claude Connors, 36, of Bissell Avenue, Depew, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Connors is an inmate in the Erie County Jail. He was arrested on a warrant out of Town of Pembroke Court. Bail was set at $750.

Lucas Daniel Allen, 25, of Horseshoe Lake Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Allen was stopped for an alleged traffic violation at 6:59 p.m. Wednesday on Route 33, Stafford, by Deputy Chad Minuto.

Heidi L. Hopkins, 41, of Cherry Street, Perry, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Hopkins was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for an alleged equipment violation on Wolcott Street in the Village of Le Roy. After a brief investigation Hopkins was arrested after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of heroin and other drug paraphernalia.

October 3, 2015 - 10:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, fire.


Batavia PD is looking for the public's assistance in identifying these two individuals in connection with an arson investigation. The individuals appeared on a video surveillance footage in proximity to a dumpster fire reported last night at a location on West Main Street (the exact location was not released). The fire was reported shortly before 9:30 p.m.

Anybody with any information that might assist in the investigation are asked to call Det. Thad Mart at (585) 345-6372.



October 2, 2015 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia.

"A couple of girls just ran out of Main Street Pizza without paying for their order," says a dispatcher. "The owner chased them down and now they're in front of Valle Jewelers on Jackson." City police are responding.

UPDATE 1:24 p.m.: This was a foursome of 14-year-old girls who allegedly "dined & dashed." At least one was taken away in a police cruiser. The cases will be referred to Family Court.

October 1, 2015 - 5:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, Basom.

A big fight is reported in the parking lot at Leisure Timers Apartments, 364 Bloomingdale Road, Basom. Some suspects left in a gray pickup truck. Sheriff's deputies are responding.

October 1, 2015 - 11:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

John W. Walsh, 32, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with open container, public lewdness and acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17. Walsh allegedly urinated in Pringle Park, Batavia, at 1:25 p.m. Sunday while children were present.

George G. Johnson, 62, of Scotland Road, Akron, is charged with petit larceny. Johnson is accused of shoplifting at Tops Market.

James E. Wroten, 48, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Wroten allegedly violated a stay away order of protect. He was jailed on $1,500 bail.

Latoya Yalanda Stanley, 27, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on warrants for alleged aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and, 3rd. Stanley allegedly failed to appear on the charges. Bail was set at $100.

September 30, 2015 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, crime.


Long and lean, this silver streak of a machine practically still has that new car smell with only 28,000 miles on it.

And it could be yours, if you're the highest bidder in an online auction that will open Oct. 6.

The 1999 Corvette was surrendered by its former owner, Anthony A. Leone, a 47-year-old former Jackson Street resident who is currently in prison. Leone signed over the car to the county under forfeiture laws pertaining to drug possession. Leone was stopped by a Le Roy police officer while driving the car and a subsequent investigation, which included the Local Drug Task Force, found a quantity of crack cocaine and pills in the vehicle. 

Since the Sheriff's Office has no legitimate law enforcement use for the Corvette, the county is putting it up for sale. The proceeds will be shared by the agencies that comprise the local Drug Task Force -- Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD, and Le Roy PD. The money can only be used for law enforcement purposes and only for expeditures beyond normal annual budget spending. For example, if the county wanted to buy new surveillance cameras for the task force, but those cameras aren't an otherwise anticipated purchase, the money could be used for that purpose.

Pictured with the car are Undersheriff William Sheron and Sheriff Gary Maha.

The auction site is Bidding opens Oct. 6 and closes Oct. 13. The minimum bid is $15,500.

The car can be viewed by potential bidders at the Sheriff's Office, 165 Park Road, Batavia. For an appointment, contact Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3503.





September 30, 2015 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Chrisjon M. Canty, 20, of Rochester, is charged with felony forgery, felony criminal possession of stolen property, identity theft and petit larceny. Canty is accused of making unauthorized purchases totalling $350 with another person's bank debit card. Canty was identified through the use of video surveillance. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

McKenzie D. Stevens, 21, residence not disclosed, is charged with petit larceny. Stevens is accused of placing three DVDs, burritos and laundry soap, worth approximately $21, in her baby stroller and exiting Walmart without paying for the items.

Joshua Jake Macklem, 23, of Jackson Street, Attica, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs, unlawful possession of marijuana, driving with a broken windshield, side windows non-transparent. Macklem was stopped at 8:16 p.m. Monday on East Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

September 30, 2015 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Though she admitted to selling $60 worth of suboxone to an undercover agent of the Local Drug Task Force, Suzanne Corona won't be going to prison, at least so long as she can abide by the terms and conditions of her probationary sentence.

Corona, often in trouble with the law from 2010 to 2014, had never faced a felony charge until her arrest for criminal sale of a controlled substance earlier this year.

She entered a guilty plea to that charge Aug. 3 and though Judge Robert C. Noonan predicted a prison term for Corona, on the recommendation of the county's Probation Department and without objection from the District Attorney's Office, Noonan granted Corona probation.

If she abides by the terms, she avoids time by prison.

Corona made headlines worldwide when she was arrested on an adultery charge in 2010 after being observed in an apparent sexual act with a man not her husband on a picnic table in Farrell Park. Then came accusations of shoplifting from a local restaurant, which led to a disturbance there and Corona being wheeled away on a gurney into a waiting ambulance, and various other shoplifting charges, including an arrest at Target on a day when a Sheriff's deputy was there doing a K-9 demonstration.

For a long stretch after that, Corona seemed to avoid getting into trouble and then came the drug sales arrest.

(Our news partner WBTA assisted with this report.)

September 29, 2015 - 9:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, pembroke, crime, Bethany.

From The Batavian's news partner, WBTA:

A young Pembroke woman, charged with manslaughter stemming from a fatal February accident in Bethany, will only be allowed to leave the home of her parents to attend outpatient rehab treatment.

Hannah Dibble, 22, appeared in Genesee County Court today asking permission to attend outpatient treatment and to attend church on Sunday morning.

Judge Robert Noonan allowed the outpatient treatment but denied permission for Dibble to attend church.

An evidence suppression hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 20th for lawyers to argue the admissibility of statements made by Dibble and others following the accident.

Dibble was driving the car in which 18-year-old Alyson Krzanak was killed and three others were seriously injured.

Dibble is accused of driving the car while intoxicated.

September 29, 2015 - 4:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department has received multiple complaints of fraudulent posts on social media (Craigslist, Facebook, and other similar Web sites) claiming to be John Gerace, a realtor of RealityUSA with property “for rent.” The postings are requesting a $700 deposit in exchange for keys to the residence. The only contact information on the postings is for [email protected].

The Batavia Police Department with the assistance of John Gerace, would like to remind the community not to give money up front for a rental apartment without first walking through the apartment and signing a lease agreement. If you feel have been part of this scam, please contact the Batavia Police Department at (585) 345-6350 to report the incident.

September 29, 2015 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

A series of daylight residential burglaries has swept through the Town of Darien, reports the Sheriff's Office, and officials are asking for citizen help in thwarting the criminals.

In a statement from Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, the office is asking that residents who see vehicles driving slowly through neighborhoods, stopped along the side of the road, or unfamiliar people walking down driveways or emerging from fields or wooded areas, be reported immediately.

Suspicious activity can be reported by calling 9-1-1 or (585) 343-5000.

Vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers are helpful if they can be obtained without risk.

There were three burglaries on Route 77, Darien, on Thursday and another was reported on Route 20 yesterday.  

Brewster said these crimes mirror similar reports in Erie and Wyoming counties, where jewelry and weapons have been stolen.

September 28, 2015 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, darien lake, batavia, elba.

Tammy Kay Zasowski, 47, of Clinton Street, Elma, is charged with attempted petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Zasowski was allegedly found inside a vehicle Sunday she did not have permission to be in by Darien Lake Theme Park security. Upon further investigation, she is a suspect in larcenies from cars in the Darien Lake parking lot on July 26. She was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Jeremy Jamal Barnett, 24, of Brooks Avenue, Rochester, is charged with possession of burglary tools, grand larceny, 4th, conspiracy, 5th and harassment, 2nd. Barnett is accused of stealing merchandise from Marshall's and concealing the store alarm tags with covers. He allegedly struggled with store staff after leaving the story. He was jailed on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

Robert Emery Moore III, 29, of Ridge Road, Elba, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Moore's vehicle was stopped at 8:35 a.m. Sunday on East Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Chris Parker, for allegedly not having a front license plate. He was allegedly found in possession of a small bag of marijuana and a pipe.

Deborah Kristen Dibble, 46, of Shady Lane, Batavia, is charged with falsely reporting a crime, 3rd. Dibble is accused of falsely reporting a crime related to a domestic dispute Sept. 14 while knowing the allegation was false.

September 25, 2015 - 3:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia.

Toni M. Drake, 34, of Vine Street, Batavia was arrested on Sept. 21 at 7:18 p.m. and charged with allowing her dog to habitually bark for more than a half hour.

Drake is to be arraigned in City Court at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

According to the Batavia PD report, her arrest came after she allegedly left her dog chained to a tree in the back yard unattended, allowing it to bark continuously for more than 30 minutes.

"Drake had been warned in the past not to allow her dog to bark continuously," says the report written by Sgt. Eric Bolles and released today.

September 25, 2015 - 2:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy.

Monta H. Little is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, a Class D felony. On April 3, in the Town of Batavia, Little allegedly knowingly used a Visa credit card that was not hers, thus intending to defraud, deceived or injure another. In 21 additional counts, Little is accused of the same crime, using various credit and debit cards of the same victim.

Nelson Grant Jr. is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, a Class D felony. On April 3, in the Town of Batavia, Grant allegedly knowingly used a MasterCard debit card that was not his, thus intending to defraud, deceive or injure another. In nine additional counts, the defendant is accused of the same crime using various credit cards.

Robert T. Assing Jr. is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, a Class D felony. On April 3, in the Town of Batavia, Assing allegedly knowlingly used a Visa debit card that was not his, thus intending to defraud, deceive or injure another. In six additional counts, he is accused of the same crime while using a different debit card in each instance.

Terrance L. Falk is indicted for the crime of criminal mischief in the third degree, a Class E felony. On Dec. 29, 2014, Falk allegedly intentionally damaged the property of another person in an amount exceeding $250, when he had no right to do so nor any reasonable grounds to believe he had such a right. It was a glass window on a door on West Main Street in the Village of Le Roy.

September 25, 2015 - 10:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke, batavia.

Paul Joseph Zicari, 59, of Candy Lane, Rochester, is charged with: aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd; operating a motor vehicle without a license; disposing of refuse on a highway; and driving a vehicle with broken glass. Zicari was stopped at 4:51 p.m. Thursday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Jaylyn Shayquawn Strong, 20, of Porter Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: unlawful possession of marijuana; display of forged certificate without inspection; operation of uninspected motor vehicle; operation by unlicensed driver; unsafe turn. Strong was stopped at 8:40 p.m. Monday on East Main Street by Deputy Joseph Corona. Also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana was Labue Dean Jonathan Wimbush, 24, of Cherry Street, Batavia.

September 24, 2015 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Alabama, pembroke, Le Roy.
    Jenea Macleod

Jenea M. Macleod, 31, of Akron, is charged with petit larceny, harassment, 2nd, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia and controlled substance not in original container. Macleod was arrested by State Police after a shoplifting complaint at the Shoe Dept. Store in Batavia. Macleod is accused of stealing a $90 pair of boots. When Macleod attempted to leave the store, she allegedly struck an employee. Once stopped, a trooper allegedly observed in plain view on the floorboard some unused needles. Upon further investigation, she was allegedly found in possession of four 10 mg. oxycodone pills, a plastic baggie containing .4 grams of heroin, bath salts, a green scale and 20 small pink plastic baggies. She was jailed on $3,000 bail.

Alexander D. Koloko, 19, of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, is charged with petit larceny. Koloko allegedly stole a pack of $0.97 cigars from a local store.

Kasey Jame Wagner, 33, of Fletcher Chapel Road, Shelby, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument, criminal impersonation, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and speeding. Wagner was stopped at 1:11 a.m. Wednesday on Clinton Street Road, Stafford, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Ronald Joseph Riley, 37, of South Avenue, Medina, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and speeding. Riley was stopped at 4:61 p.m. Wednesday on Route 77, Alabama, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Joel Lawrence Curts, 31, of East Main Road, Le Roy, is charged with abandonment of animal and aggravated unlicensed operation. Curts is accused of abandoning a cat by the side of the road in the Linwood Road area of Le Roy. A witness called in a complaint, leading to the arrest of Curts. The case was investigated by deputies Chad Cummings and Michael Lute.

A 17-year-old resident of South Street, Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd. The youth is accused of striking another person following a verbal argument.

Eric Lee Jamalkowski, 31, of Maple Center Road, Hilton, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, and bail jumping, 2nd. Jamalkowski was being held in the Monroe County Jail on unrelated charges and was turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office on a warrant. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Morgan Lee Cox, 47, of Scribner Road, Pembroke, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and harassment, 2nd. Cox allegedly grabbed a woman around her neck and obstructed her breathing. He also allegedly punched and kicked her.

September 23, 2015 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.


Deputies Michael Lute and Chad Cummings.

The two deputies who put themselves in harm's way to crawl down 300 feet of dark, damp, mud-filled corrugated metal to pull Wayne Rinker to safety on Friday hope the shoplifting suspect sees the video of his rescue, sees himself dropping like a gelatinous blob to the asphalt of the Batavia Towne Center parking lot, shivering in a fetal position, covered from head-to-toe in slime, and that in seeing himself so close to death, that it makes a difference in his life.

"I hope he decides to make a change," said Deputy Michael Lute.

Lute and Deputy Chad Cummings volunteered to rescue Rinker after it seemed pretty certain he was still in the storm drain, nearly five hours after he ran from a loss prevention officer at Kmart where he allegedly helped an accomplice steal Legos. The two men have been charged with petit larceny and conspiracy and additional charges are still pending.

Rinker's companion, 21-year-old Michael Delvalle, had already told Lute during a post-arrest interview that Rinker probably shot up heroin earlier, so when it came time to go into the hole, Lute knew he was volunteering for duty to find a guy who might have needles on him, might be uncooperative in a confined space, or could be in mortal danger.

He also knew he would be going down in the hole with the backing of a group of professionals in his department, State Police and Town of Batavia fire, as well as a man in Chad Cummings whom he considers one of the finest officers in the department.

"I knew I had the best backup in the world right behind me," Lute said.

For Cummings, crawling toward the unknown in darkened tunnels, that's just one of the things he does.

Tracking down a suspected criminal in a storm drain is comparable to looking for enemy combatants or their weapons hidden in the undergound passageways of Iraq, which is what he did during the war.

"I used some of that experience I had, and knowing we had the resources from here and from the other departments, from the camera and the robot, that I felt safe going down," Cummings said.

Confined spaces can easily fill with dangerous and noxious gases as well as provide an unexpected drop in oxygen supply, but the fire department strapped monitors to Cummings to keep tabs on the breathable air.

The two men moved slowly through the ooze, Cummings said. It would have been a lot harder on their hands and knees getting through the rippled pipe if not the bit of cushion two or three inches of mud provided.

At first, they weren't even sure the lump in the middle of the tunnel was Rinker. It even crossed the mind of Cummings that it could be some homeless guy who crawled into the drain at another time, and Lute thought of a racoon's nest.

Or Rinker could be playing possum.

"Once Deputy Lute started to see an object in the tunnel, we kind of stopped, assessed and we were giving information back to the outside, letting them know that we did see the suspect," Cumming said. "Then Deputy Lute and I approached cautiously, and once we were there, Deputy Lute was trying to communicate with him. The suspect wasn't communicating back. At that point, we knew we had to pull him out."

There was a moment where Lute and Cummings didn't think Rinker was even breathing, but then Lute caught the slight movement of Rinker's chest heaving under the light of his helmet and they knew he was still alive, though obviously in bad shape.

"Once we realized he was hypothermic and on the verge of dying, we knew we had to get a harness around this guy and drag him out, so we just went to work and got it done," Lute said.

Both Lute and Cummings are fairly new to the Sheriff's Office. Cummings, originally from Massachusetts and married to a Batavia girl, joined a year ago after 13 years in the Army and six as a corrections officer at the Federal Detention Facility in Batavia. Lute pinned on his star-shaped shield for the first time in January. He's originally from Niagara County and spent more than two years working part time for both the Akron and Corfu police departments.

Though they're new guys, they volunteered to crawl into the storm drain. This wasn't a case of dirty, undesirable duty just rolling down hill.

For the first several hours of the operation, authorities couldn't even be sure Rinker was in the storm-drain system. It was only after surveillance video from Kohl's was finally made available and a camera-equipped robot had been in the tunnels that Sheriff's personnel felt certain Rinker was still in that dank space.

"We knew he was down there and we were going to have to go in and find him because if he was unconscious, hurt, we weren't sure what the drugs, what kind of effect it had on him after a big adrenaline rush to now laying down in the cold, wet mud, so we couldn't just leave the scene without clearing and verifying that he is no longer down there," Cummings said.

At some point, the operation ceased to be purely a law enforcement mission for the deputies. There was a human being down there who probably needed their help.

"Once we rescued him out of the tunnel," Cummings said, "then we can pursue and follow up with the charges, but at that point it just became more of a rescue operation vs. we were just looking for a suspect. We knew there was a person down there who needed help. Obviously, he wasn't responding to us to help himself to come out. He was determined to stay down there, and at some point, I believe he didn't have the option of moving to get himself out."

That tunnel was a miserable place to be, Lute said.

"Dark and dingy and cold and wet," Lute said. "Not a nice place to be for anyone, I don't care who you are."

When Lute later walked into Rinker's room at UMMC, the trooper guarding him told Rinker, "this is the guy."

"He looked at me," Lute said, "and he said, 'Thanks, man. Thanks for saving my life.' "






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