Shortage or no shortage, baby formula has always been a popular item for thieves

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By , KMOX Virtual Consumer Editor

Baby formula is a hot item for thieves, but not necessarily because of the nationwide shortage.

As KMOX News has discovered, it's one of many of items that's easy to sell on the black market.

Formula, over the counter medicines, detergent, razors, contraceptives, and designer goods, are some of the top items year after year for retail theft according to the National Retail Federation.

"It's always in demand," explains Tony Sheppard, Senior Director of Loss Prevention Solutions at Think LP. Sheppard says it's easy to resell, and that's what sophisticated multi-million dollar criminal enterprises want.

When Sheppard first started working in theft prevention, items were often sold on the street. "Back then you would have had to sell it out of your trunk... ...where now you can post it online and you can sell it to anybody, the world is your customer." Sheppard says the thefts are often directed by a seller up the chain. "They'll say, 'I need X, I'm short on fragrances or I'm short on baby formula, or Claritin, I need more of it.' So it's like a shopping list for those individuals to go out and steal."

He points out, these organized retail crime rings can also make a lot more money selling items in those online marketplaces. And he adds, since the pandemic, more people have turned to online shopping for necessities.

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