Multi-state baby formula theft ring busted in Utah

Nov 10, 2022, 10:12 PM | Updated: 11:07 pm

RIVERDALE, Utah — Surveillance video is showing an alleged multi-state baby formula theft ring that came to an end in Utah. According to police, the scheme involved a group of women wiping store shelves clean during a time when it’s already hard to find formula.

For Utah parents, a grocery run for formula can often turn into a hunt with barely-stocked shelves at many stores.

At the Riverdale Target in late October, it became a heist with quite a haul when Riverdale Police said three women and a 15-year-old girl dumped basket-fulls of formula into a large plastic tote that they also found in the store.

Surveillance video shows the teen girl and a woman in one aisle, looking around as the woman picks up formula to put into a basket while in the next aisle over, another woman puts a basketful of formula she’s holding the into a 45-gallon tote. The group heads toward the front of the store and footage shows them making sure the coast is clear, then simply wheeling the cart out with the closed tote filled with 80 cans of precious powder meant for Utah families.

Only, store security was onto them and police caught up with the women outside. That’s because Riverdale Police said Target corporate alerted loss prevention at all stores around the western region of a suspected ring making the rounds at several stores in different states.

They also provided photos of the suspects, and Riverdale Police said the Riverdale Target employees recognized the women from the photos which prompted them to call police.

According to charging documents and estimates from Riverdale Police, the group is alleged to have hit up at least 13 Target stores in Arizona between September 8 and October 6, sometimes multiple times a day. The group is accused of leaving the stores with anywhere from a few hundred dollars worth to nearly a few thousand dollars worth of formula cans stuffed inside plastic tote bins.

The women may have also hit stores in Colorado and potentially other places, Riverdale Police told KSL Thursday.

Cristina Papalete, Loredana Parolea, and Cristina Dumitru were arrested and charged with Retail Theft, Contributing to the Delquincy of a Minor, and Pattern of Unlawful Activity. Police said the 15-year old was released to a family member when the women were taken into custody.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The Jeep is upside down in the left lane on the freeway....
Brooke Williams

Man killed in rollover crash on I-15 in Draper

A Jeep lost control and rolled over on the freeway.
10 hours ago
Ashley Moser

Local organization helps single parents put gifts under the Christmas tree

With prices on the rise on almost everything, providing Christmas gifts is proving difficult for many families, especially for single parent households. One Utah organization is jumping in to help.
1 day ago
(Roy City Police Department)...
Madison Swenson

Man in custody after crashing into Roy building, trying to get into another car

A man was taken into custody Friday after crashing into the back of a car, then into a building in Roy, before attempting to get into another car.
1 day ago
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)...
Madison Swenson

First Presidency of the Church releases 2022 Christmas message

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released a Christmas message.
1 day ago
Shara Park

West Valley business sees lots of in-person activity on Black Friday

A record 166.3 million people are expected to shop between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While a lot of that business is done online, there is still a strong appetite for visiting locally owned stores.
1 day ago
Karah Brackin

New tram cabins open at Snowbird

Since 1971, the Snowbird Tram has carried people up and down Little Cottonwood Canyon. For the first time in a long time, the tram cabins got quite the facelift and made history.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Multi-state baby formula theft ring busted in Utah