CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story included incorrect information about Michael A. Sweet, due to a misidentification. That information has been removed. A related follow-up story to this story may be read here.
JAVA — A helpful hint for those who steal cars: Make sure you have enough gas to make a clean getaway.
That proved to be a problem for a Varysburg man with an extensive criminal history as he allegedly stole a car from the city of Batavia Jan. 18.
Michael A. Sweet, 34, is accused of stealing the car during the early-morning hours and then driving to Wyoming County.
About 4 a.m., deputies were called to Royce Road for a report of a stranded driver who had run out of gas.
Deputies talked to the driver, who allegedly gave them a fake name and another person’s driver’s license.
Deputy Justin Bliss just happened to recognize the photograph on the driver’s license and “that it was clearly not the vehicle operator.” A short time later it was determined that the car had been stolen.
Sweet, who had several active warrants for his arrest, was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, second-degree criminal impersonation and aggravated unlicensed operation.
He also was charged in Batavia with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
In 2019, Sweet was involved in a wild incident at Walmart in Brockport.
Monroe County sheriff’s deputies were called to Walmart for a report of two people stealing a sound bar.
A description of the car was sent out and deputies, along with Ogden police, later found the car on Route 531.
Sweet was in the back seat and two other people were in the front, including the driver.
Police were removing the driver and Sweet from the car when the front seat passenger, Memzel Stewart, 42, of Rochester, slid over and began driving away.
A deputy was dragged several feet and was injured as Stewart, a parole absconder, continued to drive away.
Stewart later abandoned the car and ran into woods off Elmgrove Road. He was later found and arrested.
Sweet was charged with petit larceny.