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Shoplifting suspect flees Target on foot with more than $2,000 in merchandise

By Howard B. Owens

Police officers have been dispatched to Veterans Memorial Drive in order to locate a shoplifting suspect who is accused of stealing more than $2,000 in merchandise from Target, including a $500 scooter.

The suspect is on foot and described is wearing a black T-shirt, jeans, and a grey baseball cap.  He's headed toward the Thruway.

He was last seen behind Sally Beauty.

UPDATE 12:47 p.m.: The suspect apparently got into a Black SUV, silver trim, newer model, and the caller didn't see direction of travel, but a patrol officer reports, "We're lighting him up on Route 98 heading toward the hotels."

UPDATE 12:49 p.m.: The suspect will be in the passenger seat, a dispatcher informs the officer.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.: The suspect apparently left the cart and merchandise in the parking lot. Target loss prevention has secured the shopping cart and will be awaiting law enforcement in the store.

Photo: Stuff the Cruiser event at Batavia Towne Center

By Howard B. Owens


Sgt. Greg Kellogg, Le Roy PD, and troopers Ben Hersee, Stephanie Grimaldi and Bill Franz, show off some of the toys collected at Target today for the annual Stuff the Cruiser event.

Local law enforcement gathers for the event each year to collect donations for children who might not otherwise fund many presents under their Christmas trees. Besides Le Roy PD and State Police, participating this year were the Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD, Corfu PD, GC Probation Department, and the Department of Environmental Conservation.


Brooke Fisher, 5, drops off a toy with Le Roy PD Officer CJ Miller and Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello, Sheriff's Office.




Photo submitted by Greg Kellogg of the final haul of presents.

Photos: Thompsons demonstrate police K-9 work for Target patrons

By Howard B. Owens

Above, Deputy Brian Thompson, K-9 "Pharoah" and Brian's son, Ethan, at the Target Store in Batavia.

This afternoon, Thompson and Pharoah, assisted by Ethan, put on some working dog demonstrations for store patrons. Typically, Pharoah would search for drugs, but a couple of times, Thompson let Pharoah pursue Ethan down the aisle (see photos below).  

Ethan, who graduated from high school Saturday, is in his last week working for Target, and his last week working for The Batavian, so store management let Ethan spend part of his workday today helping his dad with the demonstrations. Ethan is heading off for a one-year Christian education program in the Adirondacks.

Batavia resident, 22, continues to make impression on local hearts

By Tasia Boland

Danielle Eckert 22, of Batavia, has volunteered more than 500 hours in Genesee County and the number keeps rising.

Batavia High School gave Eckert a scholarship for college based on good character, commitment and community service. Today she has been nominated by her employer, Target, as "Best in Community." One nominee out of each Target district will be chosen to visit the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Tennesee.

"I was shocked because I didn't even know about this program," Eckert said, "but I was extremely happy and thankful."

She hopes she is selected so she can change the life of a child.

Her love for helping others started when she was in fourth grade. She helped out at a game night at Robert Morris Elementary.

"I just remember really enjoying helping other kids and getting to meet a lot of new people. It made me want to keep volunteering."

Eckert has a special place in her heart for volunteering and said it comes from her mother.

"In sixth grade I started doing the Walk for Juvenile Diabetes because my mother suffered from it. When she died, I was in seventh grade and I knew that I really wanted to continue doing what I could. It was sort of a remembrance for her, and it just grew from there."

While she maintains a busy schedule juggling work and events, she also makes time for her church, The Pentecostals of Genesee: United Pentecostal Church, in Batavia.

"The most important thing I gain is knowing I've made other people happy."

She is currently working on a talent show through Target to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy.

"It's still in the works and (needs) a lot of ironing out."

Volunteering isn't just about the rewarding experience for yourself, but also the effect it leaves on those you help.

" I remember one time when I was at work, a child around 10 ran up to me and asked, 'Do you remember me? You were the person in charge of my group at church.' She reassured me how much fun she had and (said) she was hoping to come back and work with me again. It's a nice reward when people remember you and look forward to seeing you at another event."

Eckert believes everyone should volunteer at least once in their lifetime. She said although she may be young, it seems everyone in general is too consumed with themselves.

"I've noticed people don't even really smile at each other or appreciate others. I think it's good to work together in a group, get to know people in your community, and help others."

She has a passion for art as well and is working on starting an art club with kids in second to fifth grade.

Here is a glimpse of some of the events she has volunteered for: YMCA Healthy Kids Days; Jackson School's Breakfast with Santa; Quiznos Subs; Children's Christmas event; craft fairs; Christmas in the City; National Night Out, Genesee County Fair; juvenile diabetes; Light of Hope (cancer support); fundraisers for troops/military support; and various church events

Disclosure: Tasia Boland is employed by Target.

Batavia for Batavia, again

By Howard B. Owens

Tonight I am reading, as I have been for the past three nights, Bill Kauffman's Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette.

I come to this passage, related to the rising of Wal-Mart in Batavia:

My voice is as mute as the others in that silent night, unholy night. I supposed I am of the old  school of Thoreau and Emerson in that I distrust political solutions and prefer individual revolutions of the soul. I sympathized with those townspeople who wished to keep Wal-Mart out. But instead of passing laws to compel behavior I would rather my neighbors choose to shop locally. They will only do so when Batavia becomes once more a city with its own flavor and fashions. Whether that day will come, I do not know.

For me, if The Batavian can accomplish one thing, it will be to give voice to the people who want Batavia to be Batavia again.

I'm no Pollyanna. I know we cannot put the Brylcreem back in the tube, or unwind the the movie or rebuild C.L. Carr's, but we can promote an ideal that a rural town like Batavia should be more than bathroom break on the Thruway.

We have our corporate sponsors, which means that if the heavens opened up and Wal-Mart or Kmart decided to bequeath to us some ungodly sum of money for advertising (not likely, ever), we couldn't say no, but we are here first and foremost to support the businesses that support Batavia (and the rest of Genesee County).

We only ask one thing -- that you do the same. Before your next trip to Wal-Mart or Target, find out what local shop can do you the same service and patronize that store first.

News roundup: Shopping, rabbits and community action

By Philip Anselmo

Look no further than the front page of today's Daily News for all you need to know about what it's like to be the first shopper at a new Target store — Janet Saile bought Tic Tacs — or why rabbits make good pets — they "take up less space" than a cow — or, on a more serious note, how to stay drug free — "just walk away," says 15-year-old Tessa Williams.

For more on that last item, check out the article by Joanne Beck about National Night Out, a "fun night to learn how to make your neighborhood safer" taht will be held from 5:30 to 8:30pm August 5 at St. Anthony's Parish Center, 114 Liberty St.

This year's night out will include a new focus on drugs with the Drug-Free Marshals program and a venue for residents of Highland Park and Pringle Avenue to share their concerns during a special community meeting

There will also be youth activities, interactive games, a DJ, Safe Child identification kits, caricatures and information booths about ways to get or remain drug-free.

Today's sports section of the paper is heavy with local sports coverage — congrats to the staff for filling the whole front page with it. We got up a link in our Local Headlines about the Muckdogs loss, which is covered. But there's also a preview of the upcoming Empire State Games with a focus on some Batavia representatives on the hockey and basketball teams.

LeRoy beat Batavia 12-5 in the District 3 youth baseball championship game Tuesday for 9-10 year olds. The team will advance to the Section 1 Tournament in Olean where they will face District 8 champs Fayetville Manlius at 12:30pm Saturday.

As always, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News wherever the paper is sold. Or, better yet, subscribe at

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