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Police search for suspect of smash and grab at Walmart

By Howard B. Owens

A man who stole Nintendo Switch game consoles from Walmart and told employees he had a gun managed to evade law enforcement before officers arrived on scene on Saturday night.

The man smashed the glass of a display case at about 10:26 p.m., according to the Sheriff's Office.

He did not display a weapon while in the store.

The store was evacuated until officers determined the area was safe for customers and employees.

The robber fled in a vehicle. No description was provided of the man or the vehicle.

Deputies, State Police, and Batavia PD conducted a search of the area to try and locate the suspect.  He was not apprehended.

Anyone with information that may assist in the investigation is asked to call (585) 343-5000.


Christmas wishes fulfilled with $150 gift cards at Walmart for annual 'Shop with a Cop'

By Howard B. Owens


Armani, with Batavia police officer Connor Borchert and his mother Ashley Ayala, was among 30 children selected this year to "Shop with a Cop" at Walmart for Christmas.

The children each had $150 to spend on presents for themselves or for others.  The toy aisles were the most popular part of the store.

Photos by Howard Owens.


Armani and Ashley.


Ivy with Investigator Eric Hill.


Angelique with Batavia PD Assistant Chief Chris Camp


Deputy Jeremy McClellan with a nine-month-old on his first Christmas shopping trip to Walmart (mother asked that we not identify the child).


Deputy Jeremiah Gechell shops with Keaghen and his father, Chad Broskin of Brockport.


Deputy Kyle Tower joins Gechell, Chad, and Keaghen.

Shop With a Cop set for Saturday

By Press Release


Press Release

The Batavia Police Department in collaboration with the Village of LeRoy Police Department and Genesee County Sheriff’s Office will hold the 8th annual “Shop With a Cop” event. The event will take place Saturday, December 10th at the Walmart located at 4133 Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia. 

Approximately 30 children will be participating in Saturday’s event, and any excess funds raised will be banked towards next year’s event. Each child will have the opportunity to take a photograph with Santa and meet their individual police officer before browsing the store.

“I want to acknowledge the hard work and effort put forth by our officers into organizing this event for the community and in particular Detective James DeFreze who does a tremendous job every year in putting this event together,” Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said. “We are proud of the efforts of our department to have started this event eight years ago, and by partnering with the Le Roy Police Department and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, this has become a highly anticipated event in the community.”

Donations have been received from Wal-Mart, H.E. Turner & Company, Inc., the Batavia Police Benevolent Association, Civil Service Employee Association (CSEA), Bonarigo and McCutcheon law office, and other members of the community.

Approximately $2,800 has been raised to date.  Those interested in donating can contact Detective James DeFreze at [email protected].

“On behalf of our department, the Village of LeRoy Police Department and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office we would like to thank Walmart for their generosity and assistance in making this event possible,” Heubusch said.

File Photo of City Police Chief Shawn Heubusch participating in Shop With a Cop in 2021. Photo by Howard Owens.

Donations sought to help with annual 'Shop with a Cop'

By Press Release


Press release:

The City of Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and the LeRoy Police Department are planning for the annual “Shop with a Cop” event.

In the past, community members/businesses inquired about donating to the cause.  There are several ways to submit donations.  Checks can be made payable to the Batavia Police Benevolent Association OR the Genesee County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.  Donations can be brought to 10 W. Main St. Batavia N.Y. (Attn Detective DeFreze) or 165 Park Rd. Batavia N.Y. (Attn Sgt. Sanfratello).  Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 299 Batavia, N.Y. 14021 (Batavia PD) or P.O. Box 492 Batavia, N.Y. 14021 (Genesee County Sheriff’s Office). 

For those unfamiliar with the event, Local children are selected with the help of School Resource Officers and School Officials.  On a date in December, children will be provided funds and their own personal Police Officer / Deputy to accompany them on a Christmas shopping trip at our local Walmart.  Walmart graciously hosts and staffs the event.  Walmart also provides funding and goody bags for each child. 

The additional funds being raised will allow more children to participate, potentially increase the amount each child is provided, and lessen other costs associated with the event.  Any excess funds will be designated for next year's event. 

All the participating agencies want to thank everyone in advance, especially during this time of the year, as it is an event that we are grateful to be able to participate in and provide for our community.

Photo: File Photo.  For previous coverage, click here.

Man suspected of shoplifting seen fleeing Walmart

By Howard B. Owens

A suspected shoplifter has run from Walmart and was first reported heading toward the old Kmart, ditching his loot along the way.

He's described as a white male with a blue cap and a light green jacket.

An off-duty officer spotted him running behind Pawn King.

Multiple patrol units responding.

UPDATE 12:52 p.m.: A deputy is out with the suspect in the Batavia Downs parking lot.  There has apparently been merchandise found under a pickup truck in a nearby parking lot.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.: The suspect is in custody. Additional merchandise has been recovered in the Country Max parking lot.

Photos: Shop with a Cop 2021

By Howard B. Owens


Today, at Walmart, police officers with four agencies -- Batavia PD, Sheriff's Office, State Police, and Le Roy PD -- gathered at Walmart for law enforcement's annual "Shop with a Cop" day, when select youths in the community receive a free gift certificate to spend on presents for family members (and perhaps get something for themselves).












Driver, passenger arrested after pursuit and search that started in Oakfield, ended at Walmart

By Howard B. Owens
      Jason Fitzpatrick       Samantha Makar

A chase, a search, and a tip led to the arrest of two people Tuesday night after they were located at Walmart in Batavia.

The incident began with a chase on Route 63 in Oakfield.

A deputy on patrol spotted a Pontiac sedan traveling north at a high rate of speed, so the deputy turned around and attempted to catch the vehicle.

The deputy observed the sedan continue at a high rate of speed and pass a vehicle by crossing into the southbound lane. At that point, the deputy, in his marked patrol vehicle, initiated a pursuit with lights and siren.

The vehicle failed to stop and continued east on Route 262 and then north on Fox Road. At Fox and Maltby roads, the vehicle allegedly ran a stop sign and went into the air off the north shoulder of Maltby Road into a field.

The vehicle struck a tree and then continued northwest through the field. A backseat passenger jumped from the vehicle and complied with a deputy's commands.

The sedan continued northwest and entered a neighboring crop field. It allegedly damaged about $1,000 in crops.

The driver stopped the vehicle and the driver and remaining passenger fled on foot.

A vehicle search allegedly led to deputies finding scales with residue and an illegal weapon in the vehicle.

A K-9 was dispatched to assist in the search. That search led to a nearby residence.

Deputies received a tip that two people matching the suspects were given a ride to the Batavia Walmart.

Police responded to Walmart and located the suspects in the Walmart parking lot.

The driver was identified as Jason M. Fitzpatrick, 38, of Sweet Road, Howell, Mich., and the passenger as Samantha R. Makar, 22, of West Madison Street, York, S.C.

Fitzpatrick is charged with: criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd; unlawful fleeing of a police officer in a motor vehicle; criminal mischief, 4th; obstructing governmental administration, 2nd; and aggravated unlicensed operation. There was also a warrant for Fitzpatrick out of Michigan as a parole absconder.

Makar is charged with obstructing governmental administration and criminal possession of a weapon, 4th.

The weapon recovered was not described in the press release.

The third occupant of the vehicle complied with deputies' orders and was charged.

Assisting the in the incident were NY State Police, The Department of Environmental Conservation's K-9 unit, and Batavia PD.

Deputies involved in the incident included Jacob Gauthier and Jordan Alejandro.

Local union members join in protest against Walmart

By Howard B. Owens


Protests were held at several Walmarts around New York today, including Batavia, over concerns that Walmart has reportedly pressured GE-Savant to lower prices for lightbulbs, forcing the company to move a LED light factory from Ohio to China.

Press release:

On Saturday, Jan. 30, at Walmart stores at four locations in New York state, a coalition of labor and community groups will hold a protest as part of a national consumer awareness campaign informing the public of Walmart’s two-faced stance as a champion of “Made in America” products. 

LED light bulbs that are sold at Walmart are currently made by IUE-CWA workers at the GE-Savant Systems LLC lighting plant in Bucyrus, Ohio. GE-Savant recently announced that they intend to move the LED residential light bulb product line out of the facility to China, permanently laying off 80 workers, and putting the future of the plant in jeopardy.

The GE-Savant facility is one of the only residential lighting plants left in the USA, nearly all other residential light bulbs are now made in China.

Walmart’s website and TV ad campaign says “We are committed to American renewal. We believe we can create more American jobs by supporting more American manufacturing.” The coalition is calling on Walmart to live up to this promise. 

“This should be easy for Walmart,” said IUE-CWA International President Carl Kennebrew. “Walmart’s brand of LED Bulbs that now carry an ‘Assembled in the USA’ label are scheduled to be moved to China.

"Walmart can tell their supplier (GE-Savant) to cancel plans to ship them overseas. If Walmart is serious about supporting American manufacturing, this is how they can show it.”

“This is only the beginning,” said Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “Americans are waking up to the power of their spending dollar. When we choose to buy American, we are purchasing a product of the highest quality while investing in our communities and in our fellow Americans.

"Walmart must be part of the solution and invest more in our great nation and its people. The bulbs currently manufactured in Bucyrus, Ohio should continue to be made in Bucyrus, Ohio.”

Photos: Fifth-annual 'Shop with a Cop' at Walmart

By Howard B. Owens


For the fifth year in a row, members of local law enforcement put on their uniforms during their time off and showed up on a Saturday morning at Walmart for "Shop with a Cop."

This year, 57 children -- selected with the help of school districts -- were able to use gift cards to buy Christmas presents for parents and siblings as well as themselves while shopping with a police officer.

The New York State Police received a grant for the program, which is divided evenly among troopers, deputies and Batavia PD officers. Additionally, Le Roy PD received a donation from Le Roy Rotary to fund shopping for five children. Walmart donates wrapping and assigns employees to the event.








Batavia Walmart Supercenter revamped, nearly $6.5K donated to local organizations

By Billie Owens


Submitted photo of two Walmart officials and three officers of the Batavia Police Department.

Press release:

Batavia-area residents can now enjoy the benefits of the newly remodeled Walmart Supercenter at 4133 Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia.

The highly anticipated project was recently completed, and customers are taking advantage of the upgrades, which emphasize convenience and service to meet customers' needs.

“This remodel, along with our everyday low prices, represents our continued investment in Batavia," says Store Manager Roger Couch. "Listening to our customers and incorporating what they want is the meaning of being a community store.

"We were thrilled to provide them with a small celebration of food samplings from our vendors and face painting for kids as a thank you for being loyal customers.”

Along with the grand reopening on Friday, donations totaling $6,470 were made to local organizations. They are: the Batavia Police Department, Project Stork, Elba School, Kaleida Health Foundation, Batavia City School District, John Kennedy School, and UMMC.

Photo: Truck hits SUV at entrance to Walmart

By Howard B. Owens


At about 5:30 p.m. there was a truck vs. SUV accident at the parking lot entrance to Walmart.

The person who supplied the photo said it looked to him like the driver of the SUV tried to make a right turn on the right side of the truck, which had already initiated a right turn.

The witness said he didn't believe there were any injuries.

No further information is available at this time.

Photo submitted by a reader.

Vehicle reported stolen at Walmart

By Howard B. Owens

County patrols have been told to be on the lookout for a 2007 blue Hyundai Sonata​ that was reported stolen at about 12:30 p.m. from the parking lot of Walmart.

The driver who left in the vehicle is described as a white male, late 40s or early 50s, wearing a white jacket.

The vehicle was last seen southbound on Route 63.

Suspected shoplifters running from Walmart

By Howard B. Owens

Two shoplifting suspects are running from Walmart.

They are described as white males. One is in a brown jacket the other in a green jacket.

A deputy is dispatched and Batavia PD asked to assist.

UPDATE 11:27 a.m.: Two males are stopped in the Auto Zone parking lot.

Photos: Fourth annual 'Shop with a Cop' at Walmart

By Howard B. Owens


More than 50 local children were invited to Walmart today to "Shop with a Cop."

Off-duty officers from the Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD, and State Police volunteered their time to help the children pick presents for their families or themselves.

Funds for the event were donated by Batavia PBA, Genesee County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, New York State Troopers PBA, CSEA, the City’s “Jeans for Friday,” Bonarigo and McCutcheon Law Office, Bohm-Calarco Smith Funeral Home, Town of Batavia Fire Department, and Statewide Machinery/House O’ Laundry.  

Each child received $100 for shopping and Walmart provided staff to wrap the presents.

Top photo: Deputy Andrew Mullen with Dena, 8.


Sheriff William Sheron had a lot of fun shopping with Will, 14.


Santa arrives at Walmart.



Trooper Jeff Bebak.


Mauler, 7, shopping with Deputy Rachel Diehl.



Tyler, 4, shopping with Trooper Frank Velletta.


Deputy Chad Cummings.


Chastin, 10, shopping with Officer Frank Klimjack and his mother Jen Styer.


Officer Stephen Cronmiller with Clare, 1.


Sgt. Jason Saile with Bailee, 6.


Detective Eric Hill was joined by his wife Nicole and Aubury Towner, an Explorer, to shop with Preston, 9, Isabell, 7, and Estella, 3.


Caller at Walmart reports he was threatened over his Trump bumper sticker

By Howard B. Owens

A caller in the Walmart parking lot reports that he was threatened because of his Trump bumper sticker.

He claims it was a threat of physical violence.

A trooper and deputy dispatched.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: A trooper interviewed all parties involved. No arrest. A woman with a male made an anti-Trump statement to the man with a Trump bumper sticker on his truck. He said something back. It escalated from there but didn't become physical. Both the trooper and deputy on scene couldn't recall a prior incident in the Trump Era of threats over a bumper sticker, though the trooper recalled a Trump supporter in 2016 getting slushies dumped on his car and an anti-Trump note being left.

Photos: Shop with a Cop at Walmart

By Howard B. Owens


Fifty children from Genesee County got a chance to buy presents for other family members today during "Shop with a Cop" at Walmart in Batavia.

Officers from Batavia PD, the Sheriff's Office, and State Police participated.

A grant from Walmart paid for $100 gift cards for 30 children and donations from the City of Batavia Police Benevolent Association, Genesee County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, City of Batavia CSEA members, the City’s “Jeans for Friday” program, Department of Public Works (AFSCME) Union, and H.E. Turner & Co. Inc. Funeral Home of Batavia & Bergen raised additional funds so another 20 children could participate. 

Once children completed their shopping, members of Batavia PD's Explorer program wrapped presents and the children got a chance to visit with Santa.











Fifty local children will get to 'Shop with a Cop' for Christmas presents

By Howard B. Owens


Press release: 

On Dec. 9th, members of the Batavia Police Department, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and New York State Police Troop A, will be participating in the third annual “Shop with a Cop” event at Walmart on Veterans Memorial Drive. 

Grant money from Walmart, designated specifically for this event was distributed equally to all three organizations. The schools within Genesee County assisted in choosing the children. 

The City of Batavia Police Benevolent Association, Genesee County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, City of Batavia CSEA members, the City’s “Jeans for Friday” program, Department of Public Works (AFSCME) Union, and H.E. Turner & Co. Inc. Funeral Home of Batavia & Bergen raised additional funds which enabled 20 extra children to participate. 

A total of 50 children were invited to participate in this year’s event. Once at Walmart, the children will take photographs with Santa Claus and meet with their individual "Cop."

Walmart graciously hosts the event, allocates employees specifically for the event, and also donates gift wrapping materials. Gift wrapping will be completed by the Young Adults Group from Batavia City Church, members of the Batavia Police Explorer’s Post and family members from Batavia Police Department and Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

The Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and the New York State Police Troop A, would like to thank Walmart for their generosity and assistance to make this a great event. We would also like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

Photo: File photo.

Man accused of setting box on fire in attempt to steal Apple ear buds from Walmart

By Howard B. Owens

A 19-year-old Batavia man has been charged with arson and petit larceny after allegedly setting a box on fire that contained Apple ear buds in an attempt to steal them.

The suspect then disposed of the burnt box under a metal display rack and attempted to leave the store before being intercepted by store security officers.

Arrested was John Rai Delara, 19, of MacArthur Drive, Batavia. He was charged with petit larceny, fifth-degree arson, and criminal mischief, 4th.

He was released on an appearance ticket.

Caller reports seeing person with shopping cart of merchandise enter pawn shop

By Howard B. Owens

A caller in the area reports seeing a person with a shopping cart full of merchandise who walked from Walmart to Pawn King.

The caller suspects the items were stolen from Walmart.

A trooper is responding.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: When the trooper pulled up, the subjects left Pawn King and were last seen walking toward Office Max. They left the merchandise on the counter at Pawn King.

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