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Man stealing thousands of dollars worth of baby formula across Treasure Coast

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 04:09:46-04

Port St. Lucie Police have not seen anything like it.

They're trying to catch a suspected thief, who stole a car, equipment and other expensive items from stores across the Treasure Coast. But the unknown man's latest obsession is baby formula.

It turns out, formula is a hot commodity among thieves. Police say people will steal large quantities of it to resell for profit.

"He's taking 48 cans here, 87 cans there. You know he's got to be doing something with them," said Sgt. Frank Sabol with Port St. Lucie police. "You have flea markets you can sell them in. You can sell them on Ebay.  It's kind of limitless on what he can do with this stuff."

Police say the man's crime spree started in January, with a stolen corvette at an LA Fitness on SW Village Parkway in Port St. Lucie. The vehicle was eventually recovered in a nearby Walmart parking lot.

In April, he stole equipment and a GPS tracker totaling from Home Depot on Gatlin Boulevard in Port St. Lucie.

By May, he moved on to the Publix on Village Parkway, stealing $2,500 worth of baby formula.

Just two weeks ago, he stole over a thousand dollars of formula from Winn Dixie.

The man was caught clear as day on surveillance accomplices stealing days later from a Sam's Club on U.S. Highway 1 in Port St. Lucie.

"He stole over $2,000 worth of security cameras," said Sgt. Sabol. "He's a big headache for the stores that he's stealing from."

Now, Martin County deputies are linking him to more stolen formula. His crimes also stretch to Indian River and Palm Beach counties.

"It really is sad that you got people out here do this," said Lorie Moreira, Port St. Lucie resident.

Moms outside the Winn-Dixie he stole from told me it's unfair.

"Scumbag needs to be caught because people work hard for their money. Need to support their families," said Moreira.

Melissa Patterson spends hundreds on formula for her children.

"I think it's awful because you know, I have to buy baby formula. And it's like $18 a pop. So, if I buy four for the week, it's a lot of money," said Patterson. "It's stolen goods. People shouldn't be buying it from him."

The man is still on the loose. Police need your help to put his crime spree to an end.

"Getting the pictures out there and getting the video out there, people will know who he is and they will call us and we will catch up with him, eventually put a stop to his crime spree," said Sabol.

At least two different women have been seen with this man. One has blond hair (as seen in the Sam's Club surveillance video) and the other has dark hair. 

He's described to be in his 50s, with dark/graying hair  and he has a very distinct, large build. He also uses the same getaway car every time -- a white Chevy Equinox SUV with tinted windows.

If you've seen him, please call Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 800-273-TIPS(8477).