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Accused baby formula thief: 'bigger drug habit than the next guy'

Posted at 11:18 PM, Jul 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 04:10:41-04

We are learning more about a man accused of, among other things, stealing thousands of dollars worth of baby formula.

Stephen Riselvato, 50, was first on the Port St. Lucie Police Department's radar on Feb. 7. They recovered a stolen Corvette at a Target, after police say he stole it from an LA Fitness. Riselvato allegedly used the victim's credit card at Wal-Mart.

Riselvato later spotted on surveillance video at the Port St Lucie Sam's Club taking surveillance equipment, and then at a Winn-Dixie stealing a number of things police say, including 47 cans of baby formula.

That's just the beginning.

Detectives say also hit a Port St. Lucie Publix for 55 cans of formula.

And then he made his way south, according to the Martin County Sheriff's Office, and stole thousands in baby formula from a Jensen Beach and Stuart Publix on June 8.

Riselvato made it to Palm Beach County, according to investigators.

There, he is accused of stealing two cars from local gyms and hundreds in baby formula from a Delray Beach Publix.

In all, more than $8,000 worth of formula stolen.

"It's unpredictable," says Master Sgt. Frank Sabol with the Port St. Lucie Police Department. "So you don't know if he's got some type of grocery list or laundry list of things he needs for people so he can get money fast ... baby formula is not cheap and there is a market out there for it."

NewsChannel 5 learned a possible motive after he hit the Delray Beach Publix.

"He refused to stop," says Dani Moschella, a spokeswoman for the Delray Beach Police Department.

After crashing his car, police finally caught up with him on June 25. According to the report he had taken a "speed ball," which is a heroin-cocaine combo.  He later gave police the following statement:

"That he had a bigger drug habit than the next guy and he had to support that habit somehow," Moschella said, quoting Riselvato.

"It's always good to hear the collaboration through the agencies, even as far south as Delray Beach from Port St. Lucie, they're able to capture him and we're able to work together," Sabol says.

"This is somebody who hit a lot of counties. He hit a lot of areas. He caused a lot of damage along the way, so we're certainly happy to have him off the streets," Moschella says.

Riselvato has been locked up at the Palm Beach County jail ever since.

Next is a collaboration between all the local agencies involved, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office, to see what exactly to charge him with.