Suspected in the theft of more than $1,000 in baby formula and other items from Safeway in Sonora were arrested by Sonora Police Department officers Monday morning outside the C&C Mini Mart in Jamestown.
Just after 8 a.m., the Sonora Police Department received a report that “two African American male adults” had left Safeway on Sanguinetti Road with bags full of merchandise and fled in a dark-colored sedan.
The car was spotted on Highway 108 near the intersection with Washington Street, Sonora Police Department Interim Chief Turu VanderWiel said. Officers stopped the driver on Highway 108 near Victoria Way in Jamestown.
An officer took a store employee to the site for a field line-up, and the employee positively identified the suspects, a Sonora Police Department news release said.
During the search of the car “many, many cans” of baby formula were found, which alone were worth more than $1,000, VanderWiel said. Eight “high-dollar” champagne bottles, shirts, and athletic clothing, all reportedly stolen from Safeway, were also found.
VanderWiel said there was no evidence of young children in the vehicle, car seats or children’s clothing to indicate that the baby formula had been stolen for another person.
Instead, he explained, the high-value of baby formula at about $12 a bottle made the items a valuable commodity on the “black market.”
“We are aware it is a practice of some thieves to steal specifically baby formula and sell them at flea market type events in the city and in the valley,” he said.
Antione Parker, 26, of Stockton, was booked on suspicion of grand theft and criminal conspiracy.
His bail was set at $20,000.
Delano Sherman, 24, of Oakland, was booked on suspicion of grand theft, criminal conspiracy, and possession of pepper spray as a convicted felon, after officers determined he was on parole.
Sherman was held in the Tuolumne County Jail on a no-bail felony parole violation hold.
Arlethia Maemarie Sims, 25, of Fresno, was arrested on an out-of-county failure to appear charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, prostitution.
Her bail was set at $5,000.