2 suspects accused of stealing baby formula from several stores - Fox 2 News Headlines

Couple accused of re-selling stolen baby formula to feed drug habit

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Loritz Piazza; Jose Gonzalez Loritz Piazza; Jose Gonzalez

A couple is behind bars and police say they were stealing baby formula -- if you're a parent, you know it's not cheap.

They weren't doing this to feed their child, police say they were doing it to feed their drug habit.

Authorities across the valley have been trying to catch 25-year-old Jose Gonzalez and 26-year-old Loritz Piazza since may.

Police say the two would go into the grocery stores, load up carts with baby formula and some other items, not pay and walk out.  At some stores, workers became suspicious, so the suspects ditched the items and took off.

"These two individuals had attempted to steal about $12,000 worth of product. They were successful at stealing about $7,000," said David Pubins of the Scottsdale Police Department.

Their main target was baby formula -- specifically Similac and Enfamil brands, which can cost as much as $30 a can.

At a Safeway store near Scottsdale Road and Chaparral, police believe the suspects stole more than $1,100 worth of merchandise.

Baby formula is a commonly stolen item and some stores make customers go to a cashier or the customer service desk to get it.

Police say the suspects hit a Fry's store near 64th Street and Thomas multiple times, walking out with more than $2,600 worth of stuff.

"These individuals were turning around and selling them for pennies on the dollar essentially," said Pubins.

Police believe they found their buyers on Craigslist.  A simple search for baby formula turned up plenty of ads for buyers and sellers.

According to the Scottsdale Police report, this whole operation was designed to support the couple's $100 a day heroin and meth problem.

So while the suspects hit about a dozen stores, police say they hit the same stores multiple times.  in all, it appears there were 22 instances of theft.

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