Alert cashier foils baby formula theft try

An alert cashier at the Stillwater Cub Foods prevented the theft of Similac baby formula from the store on Sept. 27.

Police reports said the incident occurred when a customer attempted to redeem what the cashier found was a counterfeit coupon for the formula. The customer left the store when told the coupon was a fake.

Other similar incidents have occurred at stores across the Twin Cities recently and the Stillwater Cub Foods store had been alerted, according to Sgt. Jeff Stender, Stillwater Police Department spokesman.

Although Stender said coupon theft is common in the U.S., the Cub Foods incident was the first time he was aware of an attempt to pass a fake coupon specifically for Similac formula.

The suspect is described as an Asian female riding in a silver Honda Odyssey with temporary Illinois license plates. The Sept. 27 incident apparently was the second time the suspect attempted to use the fake coupons at the Stillwater location.

Reports added that the woman allegedly used the same coupons at the Blaine Cub Foods store and got away with more than $200 in formula.

The fake coupons used in Stillwater gave a customer one free can of Similac formula with no limit to how many coupons could be used.

“What happens is the thief gets it for free and then takes the formula and sells it to small grocers in St. Paul and Minneapolis for a lower price, The grocers buy the formula and then sell it back to the public for full price,” Stender said.

Although the suspect in the local incident wasn’t caught, Stender said he is getting updates that incidents similar to the local one are still occurring in the metro area. He added that he hadn’t heard any new reports recently.