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Store manager injured in gas drive-off try

Friday, October 04, 2013 - Updated: 10:01 AM

By ALISSA SCOTT

alissa.scott@recordernews.com

The manager of the Market Street Stewart's Shops was hospitalized Thursday after latching on to the car of a Galway man attempting to steal gasoline.

When the car tried to take off after pumping $50.14 worth of fuel around 3:30 p.m., manager Doug Lee ran out to stop it, officers at the scene said. Lee attempted to open the driver's side door of the vehicle, but the suspect did not stop.

The car continued driving while Lee was still holding on, and turned onto Bunn Street.

The driver, Devon L. Gayes, 22, of 2138 Galway Road, Galway, abruptly accelerated in reverse, causing Lee to fall to the pavement, and then continued driving westbound on Bunn Street, according to a news release.

Police said the car then fled from where the victim was dropped, but was found about 10 minutes later by a detective bureau member in an unmarked police car. Gayes was found running a red light at the intersection of Prospect and Church streets, police said.

The detective noticed the vehicle did not have license plates and attempted to make a vehicle stop. Gayes then fled and finally stopped on James Street, where he was arrested and transported to headquarters, the news release said.

Stewart's employees also helped officers view a surveillance tape from inside the shop pointed toward the pumps, which they used to connect with the man arrested on James Street, officers said.

Gayes was charged with petit larceny, second-degree reckless endangering and reckless driving, all class A misdemeanors. He was held for arraignment in Amsterdam City Court.

GAVAC and the Amsterdam Fire Department treated Lee at the scene and then transported him to St. Mary's Healthcare. Officers said he suffered from injuries to his arm, knees and the back of his head.

Lee's wife was contacted and at the scene while Lee was in the ambulance. She rode behind them to the hospital.

According to the news release, Lee's condition was unknown, but his injuries did not appear life threatening.

Officers said this Stewart's is frequently hit by gasoline drive-offs.

Stewart's, unlike many gas stations, offers buyers the "convenience" of pumping first and paying later, officers said.

     

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