17 charged due to investigation into thefts of baby formula

PHOENIX (AP) - Authorities say 17 people face charges stemming from an organized crime ring that stole thousands of cans of baby formula from numerous grocery stores in the Phoenix area.

Most of the defendants are charged in a 102-count indictment that alleges organized retail theft, trafficking in stolen property and other crimes, while two defendants are charged in a separate indictment.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said Thursday the thefts occurred over a four-month period that spanned late 2013 and early 2014.

The investigation was conducted by Scottsdale police, the County Attorney's Office and business representatives participating in a retail crime alliance.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery says the investigation targeted crimes that hurt businesses and consumers by reducing inventory and increasing costs.