3 charged with stealing baby items

COVINGTON - Three suspects were apparently intent on having a well-fed and clean baby when they allegedly attempted to shoplift $1,606.19 worth of baby formula and baby wash from Kroger on U.S. Highway 278 Friday afternoon.

Arrested and charged with felony shoplifting were Chaz Heard, 19, of 1895 Old Salem Road, Conyers; Samuel Anderson, 19, of 44620 Bristol Drive, Conyers; and Tanjanekka Russell, 20, of 170 Kingston Drive, Spartanburg, S.C., who was also charged with theft by receiving.

According to a Covington Police Department incident report completed by Officer Pat Womack, about 3:15 Friday afternoon officers were called to the store after employees observed the two men push carts containing baby formula out of the store without stopping to pay for it.

One of the men was stopped and agreed to bring his cart back into the store, the report states. A store employee observed the second suspected shoplifter placing items into a white car in the parking lot and then leave the car. When CPD officers arrived on the scene, they located the second suspect in a nearby shoe store.

Womack stated he went to the white Buick with a South Carolina tag on it and noticed "several cans of baby formula laying in the back floorboard." He said he saw a woman with a small infant approach the car and he asked her if the car belonged to her. She said it did, but denied ownership of the baby formula.

Womack noted that the formula was stamped with a number identifying it as belonging to the Covington Kroger store.

The formula that was in the buggy and that was found in the car totaled 68 cans and cost $975.33. An additional buggy containing 33 cans of baby formula and 23 bottles of baby wash was located in the back of the store and is believed to be connected with the alleged shoplifting. The combined cost of those items was $630.86.

Russell denied any knowledge of the shoplifting and was released after the Kroger manager had banned her from the store. She was escorted off the property by a CPD officer who followed her, while detectives viewed the video surveillance tape at the store.

"While viewing the video we observed Ms. Russell place several cans of baby formula into the buggy along with Mr. Heard and Mr. Anderson," the report states, adding that officers who were following Russell were told to stop her and arrest her. Her baby was turned over to a friend.

When officers searched the woman's car, a black pistol was found that turned out to be stolen out of Conyers.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.