After pulling over a couple suspected of shoplifting from Rite Aid, police found $900 worth of stolen baby formula, which had been taken from other pharmacies in MetroWest, police said.
Stacey Johnson, 29, of 43 Arcadia Drive, Dedham, and Corey McElligot, 31, of Williams Road, Hyde Park, were arrested at noon on Friday and charged with larceny over $250, receiving stolen property over $250 and shoplifting.
Sgt. Greg Fawkes said a manager at Rite Aid saw Johnson shoplifting in the store and followed her into the parking lot. After writing down a license plate number, the manager called police, who found the car.
Officer Mike Vinciulla pulled the car over and found the four cans of baby formula believed to have been stolen from Rite Aid on Union Street and 30 to 35 cans taken from other area stores. The couple also had several other stolen items in the car, including condoms, shampoo and razor blades. McElligot had several hypodermic needles in his pocket, said Fawkes.
Fawkes said the couple had stolen baby formula from many other pharmacies that morning before being caught. After the two were arrested, Johnson said she had stolen the merchandise from a few Walgreens stores in the area, but would not say which ones.
"They clearly had quite the scheme going," said Fawkes.
Baby formula retails for around $27 and has a high resale value. Fawkes called it "the item of choice" to be stolen from pharmacies.
At the time of her arrest, Johnson also was wanted on two warrants from Dedham District Court for larceny over $250.
Fawkes praised the quick reactions of the store manager and the arresting officer.
"We cleared up several crimes in the process," he said, adding that detectives are working on finding out which stores the baby formula in the car were taken from.
Johnson and McElligot, who police suspected of being under the influence of drugs, were taken to the hospital after their arrest and then released on bail.