‘Hot’ black market items aren’t what you’d expect

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As much as $40,000 worth of Similac was stolen from area stores. From Getty Images.

St. Louis County, MO — These black market items are perfectly legal, ordinary household items, which happen to be expensive, unavoidable necessities.

And criminals know that.

It’s why St. Louis police say Erica Murphy used counterfeit checks to buy baby formula at Walmart, with plans to resell it.

In St. Louis County, police say David McCabe stole 17 bottles of laundry detergent from the Fenton Walmart. In Clayton, more laundry detergent was stolen from CVS. And in Des Peres, police discovered nearly $1,300 worth of baby clothes, stolen from Babies “R” Us, that Tanay Parker admitted she bought on the black market.

Each of these suspects was charged within the past two weeks, and just a few examples of what police say is a somewhat common crime.

“It’s unfortunate because there are a number of agencies in St. Louis, including Nurses for Newborns, that will help families with those kind of items,” explains the non-profit agency’s Chief Nursing Officer, Ron Tompkins.

Each year, Nurses for Newborns helps roughly 2,000 families with infants. They provide nursing services, along with free formula, diapers and baby clothes to create a healthier, safer environment for infants and their families.

Tompkins says, “Our primary mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect, and infant mortality. And there are a number of ways we go about doing that.” Nurses for Newborns also works with families on budget planning, so they can figure out what they can afford, from baby clothes to diapers.

Tompkins wants moms and dads to realize they can get help, so desperate times don’t result in desperate crimes.

Nurses for Newborns is a United Way organization.  If your family needs assistance, you can contact the United Way by dialing “211” to be connected to the appropriate agency.

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