KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knox County Sheriff’s Office raided three children’s consignment stores in the Knoxville area for selling baby formula that was shoplifted from stores.
As part of an undercover investigation, deputies raided to Wee Care Shoppe, Rugrats Resale Shop, and Penny’s New and Used Baby Stuff.
Charges have now been filed against the owners of Wee Care, Fathi Husain, 52, and his wife Rebecca Husain, 53; the owner of Rugrats, Brandi Oliver, 36, and her associate Pamela Monday, 45; and the owner of Penny’s, Kenneth Harris, 71.
Informants went to the consignment stores with baby formula to sell, notifying the owners that the formula was stolen, and it was still bought for cash, according to investigation.
“As far as the danger to the public, I don’t know that there is one,” said Captain George Edlund. “The issue is that it is being sold on the black market.”
Several hundred cans of formula were found at Rugrats and Penny’s, while Wee Care had the largest number.
fficers expected to be at the scene all day, hauling out hundreds of cases of formula.
Store owners will be charged with attempted theft and forfeiture, according to Edlund. He believes the black market of baby formula at these stores has been going on since December or January.
“I understand that baby formula is very expensive to buy, but it is a part of child care,” he said.
Grocery stores have reported shelves being wiped clean of formula by shoplifters and say it’s one of the most popular shoplifted items.