In a case that seems too ludicrous on the surface, almost 17 people were taken into custody for stealing baby formula from grocery stores all over the valley. Scottsdale Police were involved in the busting of this organized crime ring that had left retailers with losses amounting to $65,000.
The mastermind of the crime syndicate was taken into custody while holding almost 6000 cans of baby food in his house worth an estimated $150,000. The modus operandi of the gang was simple; the ring leader would get others involved in the plan and teach them to steal baby food cans. After filling reusable bags with baby formula, the perpetrators would dash out of the store and into a waiting getaway vehicle.
The stolen goods would then be sold for one quarter of their retail price, earning the buyer a profit of almost 300% while the gang leader made nearly $6 on every can sold. Operation Powder Burn was a superlative example of cooperation between the police, the Attorney General’s Office and the businesses in the area.
All the people involved in the stealing have been charged with fraudulent schemes, retail theft, abetting criminal activity and trafficking stolen goods. In the press conference held after the arrests were made, the County Attorney said that it is crucial to stop retail crimes because they not only hurt the business community but also impact consumers who have to pay more owing to inventory reduction.