Detectives: Theft ring targeted baby formula

November 8, 2012 8:05:55 AM PST
Baby formula -- that's what authorities say helped them bust an organized crime ring. Investigators say the basic baby necessity is what a group of women was using to rip off stores and make some money.

Two women are still being held at the Harris County Jail, while the third has been released on bond. The suspects have previous theft charges on their record, but investigators say their latest is baby formula.

It's not what you might think of when you think hot commodity, but expensive all the same.

"It's a lot for milk," said Jisery Washington, who's bought some before.

In fact, cans of baby formula can cost $15 to $30 each, and Houston police believe Laagunettar Dawn Wilhite capitalized on it.

According to court documents, Wilhite is accused of running a large retail organized theft ring that included baby formula. She's accused of stealing 88 cans herself during three different trips to area Target stores.

Each time, police say she loaded them into a plastic tote and walked right out. The grand total for the loot equaled to more than $2,100.

The day after Wilhite was charged, police also charged Natalie Daniels and Charlotta Stephens. Investigators believe they all worked together, and in just two months time, managed to steal a total of 200 cans.

It's nourishment for babies but dollars signs for thieves.

"People will, I guess, do anything to make some money," Washington said.

Detectives say people who steal baby formula do it solely to resell it at flea markets and street corners, even to family and neighbors.


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