A 30-year-old Tucson woman has been charged after she allegedly bought or stole baby formula from stores, replaced it with flour and other contents and then returned it for a refund so that it could be sold again, police said in a Friday news release.
Jennifer Laplante was charged with child endangerment, and fraudulent schemes and artifices after she allegedly returned tampered formula to as many as four stores before it went back on the shelf, police said.
She allegedly did this with Gerber “Good Start” Soy formula.
The case stretches back to May 5, when Tucson police officers responded to a baby that had “possibly ingested contaminated formula.”
Police learned that the baby didn’t have any life-threatening injuries and possibly became sick because of a formula product that was purchased at a Fry’s Food and Drug store.
Fry’s staff helped the police track down any other formula returns that happened at the store.
Six days after police attended the baby, the store provided information about a possible female suspect. Laplante was detained that day.
The suspect did this at four stores, according to detectives. They may include two Fry’s and two Walmart locations, and possibly other stores, police added.
Laplante may be facing further charges; detectives are still looking into any returns she may have made.
In the meantime, anyone who recently bought formula from a Tucson business is being warned to “examine the product carefully.”
“If there is anything unusual about the seal — or lack of a seal; if the product looks or has an odd smell in any way — DO NOT USE the product and notify our department,” police said.