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Baby formula thieves targeting needy families

Posted at 7:33 PM, Aug 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-22 23:59:51-04

Baby formula thefts are happening across the state. This one caught on surveillance video in Tampa.

The two women stole almost 50 cans of baby formula from a store.

Jennifer Stracick, the Executive Director at ALPHA House of Pinellas County said, "It's heartbreaking because I feel like they are taking advantage of people that are in need in the community."

The concern is desperate parents might choose to buy baby formula on the black market to try and save money.

"They know when mothers get desperate," said Stracick.

Last year, Port Saint Lucie Police say a man stole more than 8-thousand dollars worth of baby food from the Treasure Coast to Palm Beach County. First Baptist Church of Greenacres Pastor Jerry Frye says families are in need of baby formula.

"Moms ask for formula, they ask for baby foods, they ask for diapers."

Experts warn parents to check local resources before buying from an unknown source.

Pastor Frye runs a food pantry at his church. He said his shelf for baby formula is empty.

"It's a few people bringing in to the church when we have a little extra I buy these items because I believe it's important for our babies to be healthy."

I contacted other food pantries and agencies and they agreed they could use donations of baby formula.

"Right now we've got to have some kind of drive, just promote this to hope that someone will see this and will come in and help us to bring these items needed here."