Local News

Baby Formula A Hot Item On The Black Market

Posted Updated

RALEIGH — April 24, 1996 - 10:30 a.m. EDT

Raleigh police say they're getting closer to catching a suspect who is stealing baby formula from local grocery stores.

Investigators say the thief has struck several times in Raleigh in the last month, but it's not a just problem in the Triangle. It's happening all over the state.

According to police, the thieves are becoming bolder and are about to get caught. Part of the problem with catching them so far has been the length of time it takes for the stolen formula to get to the street for sale. The baby food jars and cans are sealed, so it can be kept for a while and still be good.

Formula has been stolen from at least 6 area grocery stores since March 12.

Sgt Michael Hunter of the the Raleigh police says thieves have been brazenly walking out of stores with cases of formula.

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Four Food Lions have been hit, one Kroger and one Harris Teeter. Investigators are searching for 28-year-old Baron Cortez in connection with the larcenies. He is described as 6-foot-3 inches tall, and about 210 pounds.

Hunter says the reason formula is a hot item right now is because it's expensive, at about $30 a case, and many people need it, so it's easy to sell and trade.

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They suggest that grocery store employees and shoppers be more aware of what's going on in the aisles.

If they see people taking property from the business without paying they should call 911 and get police involved