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Baby formula hot commodity among drug users, police say

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 24 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 26 2013 06:21:36 AM CDT

Police are on the hunt for a man who stole thousands of dollars worth of baby formula.

READING, Pa. -

Police are on the hunt for a man who stole thousands of dollars worth of baby formula.

David Enright, from the Fleetwood area, is accused of stealing $8,000 worth of formula from the Weis supermarket on Route 73 in Oley Township, police said.

Managers at the Fine Fare Supermarket in Reading are aware of the rising baby formula thefts, and as a precaution, they have secured their inventory with a lock and key.

"They go from $80 to $90 a case," said Jim Marte, the store's manager. "So, you know, if they come in and try to steal it, we lose a lot of money because we also have to pay our overhead plus our employees."

Inail Cruz, of the 1100 block of North 11th Street in Reading, was arrested and charged Wednesday with stealing $7,956.24 worth of baby formula from the Walmart on Allentown Pike in Muhlenberg Township, investigators said.

Cruz had stolen from that Walmart 31 times between January 31 through March 7, officials said.

Some parents were irate when they got word of the alleged crime.

"It makes me angry," said Antonio Alvarez. "Real angry because it could hurt someone in my family."

Police said the alleged thieves are often drug users who sell the stolen product to small stores for lower prices.

The criminals are also known to change the labels and expiration dates, officials said.

The National Retail Federation reports that the stolen baby formula is often not stored in the best conditions, either.

"The kid can get sick because of somebody else," said Edwin Viera. "And then who's going to pay the price? The kid. That's not fair."

If you know anything about these baby formula thefts, you can contact Crime Alert Berks County. The number is 877-373-9913. Information leading to an arrest could earn you a cash reward.