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June 18, 2009 - 10:15am

Manhunt in progress near Townline and 63

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

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There is a manhunt in progress, with one suspect in custody around Route 63 and Townline Road.

Two other suspects are reportedly still at large, possibily armed, and on foot.

We don't know at this time what triggered the manhunt.

A helicopter has been called in to help with the search.

Batavia Police and Sheriff's Office units are on scene at multiple locations along Route 63.

UPDATE: There is a reported "money trail" south of the subject's vehicle.

UPDATE: 10:30 a.m.: Sheriff Gary Maha has confirmed the suspects are wanted in confirmed the suspects are wanted in connection with a bank robbery in Elba.

And, a woman just drive up to the command center, ran up to the sheriff and said she saw a subject running in a field north of Townline Road just minutes ago. The subject is east of 63, running north.

UPDATE: Helicopter on scene now.

UPDATE 10:50 a.m.: Second suspect in custody. Two more at large.

UPDATE: 10:52: One of the suspects in custody has reported there were only three subjects in the getaway car.

UPDATE 11:02 a.m.: Dan Fischer at WBTA is reporting that all schools in Genesee County have been placed on lock down.

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UPDATE 12:22 p.m.:  K-9, officers on foot and a helicopter has been searching a area to the northeast of the John Deere location.  Now officers are discussing a report of foot prints in a field south of Townline Road. Air 1 has just been moved to that field, where a border batrol K-9 unit found the tracks.

UPDATE: 1:01 p.m.: Maj. Cummings of the NYSP just told the assembled media that the cordoned area is 5 miles.  Sheriff Maha said, "We have two suspects in custody. We have this person identified. He might as well give up."  Cummings encouraged people in the area to make sure their cars and houses are locked and don't let anybody in.

UPDATE 1:10 p.m.: Sheriff Maha just requested that all schools be unlocked. "We have two suspects in custody and a good idea where the third suspect is, so we don't see any reason to have any schools locked."

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UPDATE: Took a while to get this video processed ... it's not quite done.  My battery is almost dead, so I'm inserting the code for it now ... should appear shortly ... and shutting down laptop unless there is a significant development.

UPDATE: 2:30 a.m.: The at-large suspect has been identified as Michael J. Wells, 24, of Buffalo. He is 6' and 200 lbs. No other details about his background were releases.  If my battery lasts long enough, I'll post a photo shortly.

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UPDATE 2:42: The third suspect is in custody.

UPDATE 5:25 p.m.: Below is cellphone video submitted by Paul G. Barrett of Batavia depicting the apprehension of the final of three bank robbery suspects after a five-hour manhunt.

Peter O'Brien
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What child was ever threatened? They robbed a bank and ran away, there was no report of any assault and they were only possibly armed.
nancy baxter
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Just got phone call that OACS lockdown is over. Kids will be released now and elemnetary kids will be released at normal dismissal time.
Richard Schildwaster
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O/A school is now out of the lockdown, just received that message.
Betsy Riexinger
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Lockdown is lifted at Elba School.
Becky Scroger
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Glad Oakfield is right on top of their notification system! Got the lockdown call and not less than 5 minutes later, got the call that the lockdown was lifted.
nancy baxter
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My mom lives on lewiston past the galloway road. quite a few police and cars stopped right across from her house on lewiston
Steve Ognibene
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Great job Howard on the pictures and all the coverage. The Batavian was on top of this story from start to finish! We just got an automated phone message from the Batavia school district that the lock down has been lifted. I just hope no one was hurt by all this chaos. Thank-you.
Teresa Spink
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Sorry I'm lost, did they found the last guy or is he still out there???
Andrew Erbell
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Don't burst their bubble Peter. They're bonding as part of the 3rd leg of the stool or some such thing. The only way it could be better is if everyone were sitting in a coffee shop (locally owned and operated of course) at different tables, all staring at their laptops, typing to one another in the very same room.
Bea McManis
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Received a call from Batavia Schools, lockdown, for them, is clear at 1:31pm. Although the suspect has not been apprehended? I guess they figure the guy isn't headed for Batavia.
Karen Miconi
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Great Coverage Howard! Man I wonder where that last guy is hiding. What a world..
Lorie Longhany
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I assume the lockdown is a precaution to prevent any children from being in harms way should a suspect decide to run into a school for refuge. Makes sense to me. I don't disagree with caution in these types of incidents. This effected my plans for the day. I have a scheduled art show tonight, but needed to be able to 1st enter the school (which I couldn't) and 2nd transfer panels of displayed artwork from one building to another. Although the lockdown has now been lifted my principal decided to cancel our evening events as he didn't know when the all clear would be called and we were running into an issue with an ever shrinking preparation time frame and manpower. I received five messages from my schools administration. They did an excellent job keeping parents and teachers informed. And it's great to have the up to the minute reporting from The Batavian.
Peter O'Brien
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Don't forget that if you are at a coffee shop and you don't use a mac you are shunned Andrew.
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Thank you Lori! Couldnt have said it better. If you dont have children, you dont see the importance. Im going to get mine now. Im just glad nowone got hurt.
daniel cherry
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(I'm Dan cherry Jr) When we had the lock down i was just about to go home and eat lunch but we had a lock down instead they fed us lunch. but they couldn't find the Key so they broke in the refrigerator. and At about 1:20 the lock down was lifted.
William Buckley
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Lorie- I can't say anything specific for any given district as I simply don't know, but at various schools in Rochester (and I would assume it applies in general) lockdowns are used in this type of situation to keep everyone in the school safe. The first intent is to keep anyone else from entering the building if possible, and the second is that everyone is already at the safest points in the building they can be at if someone the police are looking for were to get in to the building despite the lockdown. Lockdowns are definitely used in more situations than just a worst case scenario of an active shooter, a Greece school had a fight between a student and security personnel a few days ago and they locked the school down as standard procedure.
Peter O'Brien
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Your emotional reaction was unfounded Karen. Locking down the schools is fine I was commenting specifically to this quote "With something as important as the safety of peoples children made this coverage so valuable." Are Howard, Andrew, and I the last voices of reason on this site?
Peter O'Brien
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"a Greece school had a fight between a student and security personnel a few days ago and they locked the school down as standard procedure." Just like a prison....
Richard Gahagan
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I'm just glad everyone stopped commenting on the guy painting the light post.
nancy baxter
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I am getting info from my moms house on lewiston road. Road is closed on Lewiston....they got him up near Galloway.
Jacob Bell
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I love how scared people got during this. They made it seem like the people are going to like go into the school and stuff. Theyre not that dumb, theyre going to stay low key and out of sight.
Barb Johnson
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I JUST WANTED HOWARD TO KNOW THAT THIS WAS THE BEST COVERAGE I HAVE EVER SEEN. HOW EXCITING TO FEEL LIKE THE PUBLIC WAS A PART OF EVERY MOMENT. GREAT JOB TO THE BATAVIAN. "I LOVE THIS WEB SITE"
Beth Kinsley
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Great coverage Howard! You were right on top of this one.
Karen Miconi
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Barbara Jean!! How the Hell are ya? Congrats to all Law Enforcement, and Howard Owens for a job well done. Ill bet it was great to put all those tactic to work today, with a successful outcome.
Jeff Allen
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These guys robbed more than just the bank, they robbed us of the Deal of the Day!
Beth Kinsley
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Hey - you're right Jeff. I'm going to win one of those sooner or later. I'm never quite quick enough.
Howard B. Owens
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Jeff, funny. Maybe I'll still do one. You never know. If I can stay awake. And I still have a chamber function to drop by, a Muckdogs event and the consolidation meeting (if anybody sees me falling asleep during it, no fair posting a picture). Thanks for the compliments from all. I owe a big thanks to my wife. Even though she had other things to do today, she came out to the scene with a back-up battery for my laptop and then went and bought me two of Jerry Arena's hot dogs (after doing the morning update of the site and taking care of a few other things, I was on my way to Pok-A-Dot for breakfast when this started, so I'd had nothing to eat at that point).
Barb Johnson
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HI KAREN, I HAVE BEEN ONLINE FOR WEEKS READING ALL THE COMMENTS, BUT I NEVER WROTE ANYTHING. TODAY WAS GREAT!!! I LOVE ALL THE STUFF YOU HAVE SAID "GLADYS" . YOUR GREAT. LET'S GET TOGETHER SOMETIME. I HAVE TO GET BACK TO WORK. BARB J
Olivia Gimlin
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I was sitting in my english regents when they announced that we were going into lockdown. (i go to oakfield school). We were not to leave the school, they announced that all the windows were to be closed, and when our test was finished they actually did start the next one. all of us juniors that were in the test had to saty and we were escorted to the gym and then to the cafeteria. we were finally released at 1:10. our parents were not even allowed to come pick us up. I had called my mom at around noon and at that point none of the parents had been notified yet, we went into lockdown at 10:14! i think the parents should have been notified sooner considering quite a few parents were waiting to be pick their kids.
Woyvel Lloyce
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Sheriff Maha was very diplomatic in saying it was the schools' decision to lock down. It was not decided by law enforcement, but by poorly informed school officials, lapse in communication, or school officials with poor judgment. There was no imminent danger to any students in any area other than Oakfield. Locking down every school in the county causes panic and rumors, especially among elementary students. I'm sure the Sheriff and State Police Major would suggest a lock down if it was truly warranted.
Howard B. Owens
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I deleted a comment I made and a response to it because I was probably being unfair to the Daily.
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Way to go Howard!!! i been saying all along this is the place to get your local news.get more news here then any place.
Howard B. Owens
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Thanks to all for the nice comments about the coverage -- and for not making fun of the massive number of typos and mangled phrases ... I've decided not to correct any of that since it just goes along with working quickly to get as much information out as fast as possible.
Susan Brownell
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Howard... I watched this story until I had to go to work! Great coverage and KUDOS!! I work at the library in Bergen and a man came in talking about this story. We commented about how great of a job you were doing.
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Howard, your coverage was raw journalism at it's best. I appreciated the 'on the spot' work that you did. Kudos to Billie for being there. While the main topic is, of course, the robbery and capture of those responsible. There is a second story, and it is the readers. TheBatavian gave us an opportunity to share their views on a story that was unfolding. I was at my daughter's when I heard a siren. I came to her computer to find out what was going on. I KNEW that whatever it was, you were on top of it. My daughter has surgery on Wednesday and confined to bed. I read every post to her. My neice, in Buffalo, thought I was kidding about the robbery and lock down when I mentioned it in FB. My Florida son immediately wrote back, "no, no, it's all true, I read it on TheBatavian". This is a great example of a 'third place'. Now, if you only served coffee in the morning....

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