ELMIRA, NY (WENY) -- New York State Police and the Chemung County Sheriff's Office on Saturday provided an update on the condition of a sheriff's investigator who was critically injured in a hit and run during a retail theft detail Friday night in the town of Big Flats.

According to Chemung County Sheriff Bill Schrom, the wounded investigator is 35-year-old Michael Theetge, an 11 year veteran of the Sheriff's Office. He is currently in critical condition at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. 

Sheriff Schrom says on March 29th, members of the sheriff's office were working with New York State Police on a joint retail theft operation in the retail area in the town of Big Flats, between 2PM and 10PM. Around 6:45PM, they were notified of a suspected larceny at the Big Flats Target on County Route 64. On scene, Investigator Theetge chased a suspect, identified as Dominick Haley, 24, through the parking lot to a waiting car. 

Schrom says both the investigator and Haley ended up on the hood of the car, when the driver accelerated, throwing both Theetge and Haley from the vehicle. As a result, Investigator Theetge hit his head, suffering a skull fracture and a brain bleed. He was airlifted to Robert Packer Hospital, where he is in critical condition. 

"From our perspective, when an incident like this happens, we can't thank enough the partners we have in law enforcement. Every agency from within this county, to include outside the county, Corning Police Department, Schuyler County Sheriff's Office, Steuben County Sheriff's Office responded when they heard the call of officer down," Sheriff Schrom said. "That's very assuring to us, and goes to show the collaboration that we have with law enforcement, how important people take these types of incidents and calls that come in unfortunately, from time to time."

New York State Police Troop E Major Miklos Szoczei, II detailed the timeline of events leading up to and immediately after Investigator Theetge was injured. State police say a Target Loss Prevention employee noticed a Black male put a TV and other items in a cart, and attempted to leave the store without paying. The Loss Prevention employee challenged the suspect, who abandoned the cart and fled the store, towards a black 2016 Chevy Impala that attempted to pull up to the front of the store. Maj. Szoczei said when law enforcement tried to stop the Impala from leaving the scene, the driver tried to evade officers, and then drove towards the suspect to pick him up towards the rear of the parking lot. When a state trooper and Investigator Theetge chased the suspect on foot, both Haley and Theetge slid onto the hood when the driver accelerated and turned, throwing both from the hood of the car. 

State Police say Haley then got up and ran, while Investigator Theetge suffered a serious head injury. Other law enforcement arrested Haley a short distance away, but the driver of the Impala got away, police said. 

The black Impala was soon discovered abandoned at a nearby car dealership parking lot, but the driver, 24-year-old Fatiuna Massaline from the Ithaca area, has not been located at this time. 

"We believe this is an isolated incident, and we believe there is no immediate threat to the public at this time. However we are asking and seeking the public's assistance in locating  [the driver of the vehicle]," Maj. Szoczei said. "...I want to reinforce that no stone will be left unturned in this investigation. And that all suspects that we believe perpetrated this crime will be brought to justice." 

Authorities are working with the Ithaca Police Department and other agencies as they investigate leads in the incident. 

Haley is charged with second degree assault, assault of a police officer, and petit larceny. He was arraigned Friday evening in Town of Big Flats court, and sent to the Chemung County jail in lieu of $100,00 cash bail/$200,000 bond. Charges are pending against the driver of the vehicle. 

State police say they had what was believed to be a positive sighting of one of the suspects at Lowe's Home Improvement store, and worked with the retailer to search the area, but did not find anyone. 

During the ordeal, a state police investigator suffered a minor leg injury.  He was treated at Guthrie Corning Hospital and released. 

Anyone with information about the incident should contact New York State Police at 585-398-4100. 

The suspect driving the 2016 Chevy Impala, Fatiuna Massaline:



Chemung County Sheriff's Investigator Michael Theetge: