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Would-be corn thieves caught after chase

It was a quiet Sunday morning on Batavia Elba Townline Road in the Town of Batavia, until two thieves snatched a dozen ears of corn from a roadside stand.

“I watched them do it,” said Dan Underhill, part-time farmer and the owner of the honor stand. “I yelled at them to stop.”

But the two women took off in their getaway car about 11 a.m., without looking back – and without leaving $4 for the corn.

Unbeknownst to them, Underhill was in hot pursuit. He called 911 and gave a description of the vehicle, and followed the duo into the City of Batavia. They ended up about five miles away in the parking lot at the Walmart on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Luckily for Underhill, reinforcements had arrived: two Genesee County sheriff’s deputies and two City of Batavia police officers.

The women were not happy at their apprehension, by his account.

“They said they had a 10-dollar bill and didn’t have change and were going to get change at Walmart, he said. “But they didn’t stop when I yelled.”

Underhill, who works for an animal feed company and also is deputy Batavia town supervisor, said he and his family have had the roadside stand for about 20 years. He and his three sons have run the stand, and like many stands along country roads, they use the honor system. Customers pick out their produce and leave the money.

Except this year a lot of people have forgotten that last step.

“It seems pretty petty,” he said about going after the women, “but me and my kids work pretty hard.”

They also grow and sell cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries.

“For the most part we’re pretty darn lucky on it,” he said.

But after losing a lot of strawberries to nefarious motorists who also grabbed and ran, they put up trail cameras trained on the stand, with a sign to “smile” for the camera.

“It helps some,” he said.

Sheriff’s deputies charged Virginia E. Glazier, 29, of Byron, and Teryl A. Havel, 55, of Memphis, Tenn., with petit larceny. They were given appearance tickets. They are to be arraigned in Batavia Town Court Aug. 20.

“It was stupidity, really for $4,” Underhill said.