An alleged shoplifter is lucky to be alive after he was rescued from a storm drain by deputies with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.
Officers were called to K-Mart in Batavia around 3 p.m. after two people fled from the store with stolen merchandise.
Deputies began searching for the suspects and noticed scuff marks in the mud by the storm drain in the nearby Kohl's parking lot. Believing the suspects may have fled into the drainage system, officers called for backup.
The Town of Batavia Fire Department helped officers gain access to the drainage system and a sewer camera determined that officers would need to go into the system to check for the suspect.
Deputies Chad Cummings and Michael Lute went into the storm drain. Around 200 feet in, they located 30-year-old Wayne Rinker of Webster. He was barely conscious and suffering from hypothermia.
The deputies secured him with a rope and pulled him out of the pipe. Rinker was then taken to United Memorial Medical Center.
Deputies believe without going into the storm drain to rescue him, Rinker would not have been able to escape and would not have survived.
Charges of larceny and conspiracy are pending against Rinker, who remains in the hospital
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