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Addicts stealing baby formula to support drug habit

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Thefts of infant formula are on the rise in the St. Louis area.

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says stores of all sizes have been hit by thieves, mostly operating in organized rings, stealing infant formula, which can sell for as much as $30 a can, creating a lucrative resale market for thieves.

"It is very easy to dispose of, you can`t track it. So what they will do is take it and sell it on a street corner themselves or take it to a mom and pop grocery and sell it to them and resell it," Fitch said.  "The problem we`ve noticed with some of these is they will also alter the expiration date."

Some stores are combating the problem by increasing video surveillance in the baby food aisle, or simply limiting access to the product.

"When the customers come up they actually have to request it, and we have it behind the counter," said Miss Gunn, manager of the City Supermarket, in the 4300 block of Natural Bridge Avenue.

It is believed the money from the resale of infant formula is mostly going to feed the thieves` drug habits, and not their children.

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