LOGAN — Police have recovered between $8,000 and $11,000 in baby formula, believed to have been stolen by two women and a man who were arrested Monday in Nibley.
Police had been searching for the suspects ever since four local grocery stores reported having baby formula stolen, beginning December 4. The investigation had stalled after no one was able to identify the suspects or provide any leads.
Logan City Police Capt. Curtis Hooley said investigators got a break in the case after the suspects were seen Monday morning at the Providence Macey’s.
“The store employees got a description of the car and license plate number,” said Hooley. “These individuals, and there was a male with them, left the store heading south and a sheriff’s deputy located them and made a vehicle stop on them.”
The three were taken into custody for questioning and later arrested. They have been identified as 49-year-old Selford Velcu, 47-year-old Iolandaa Velcu and 22-year-old Elisabeta Zatreanu.
Investigators believe the two older suspects are married and related to the younger suspect. Two had ID’s out of California and one out of New York. Their vehicle was also registered out of California. Hooley said they have only partially cooperated with investigators.
“They did admit that they had stolen baby formula from Macey’s in Providence. But when they were confronted about all the other thefts that had occurred and even when they were shown pictures of them committing the acts, they would not talk about those.”
Tuesday, investigators learned that the suspects had recently rented a storage unit in the city. Hooley said that is where officers have found most of the stolen formula.
“So a search warrant was done on that as well. Subsequent to those search warrants, they found 466 cans of baby formula and some of those cans that had Smith’s Food and Drug stickers on them from Heber City and Park City so we know that they had stolen stuff out of Heber and Park City as well.”
Police believe the three worked together and may have been using Logan as a central location to store the stolen formula. Investigators are unsure how the suspects intended to get rid of the formula but Hooley believes it would have been sold on the black market or through online classified sites.
The three suspects are being held in the Cache County Jail on suspicion of theft and racketeering. Formal charges are expected as the investigation continues.
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