Baby Food Bandits Nabbed After Highway Chase

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 09, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Two East Bay residents are in jail following a daring dairy heist (unless it's soy) in Pleasanton, Calif. Demarko Luke and Dejan Martin, were arrested on suspicion of multiple felonies after leading police on an early morning freeway chase.

Officers happened to be in a Safeway parking lot when they spotted Luke sprinting from the store, swinging two shopping baskets loaded with Enfamil baby formula.

Formula-laden Flight from Justice

According to officers, Luke jumped into a car with Martin at the wheel and the two sped off onto Interstate 680. The two suspects exited the highway soon after, but lost control of the vehicle. The fugitives then fled the vehicle to hide in a nearby park. Canine officers were called in, and the pair were arrested around 4 a.m.

When officers searched the vehicle, they found "a trunk-full of baby formula believed to have been taken in previous thefts, including one at the same Safeway in Pleasanton on March 1," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The two were held on a grand total of $380,000 bail.

Formula Dealers or Drug Dealers?

This may be news to you (it was to us), but it turns out there is a burgeoning black market for baby formula. Entire theft rings have been scouring our store shelves for the precious white powder, in hopes of turning a profit. In fact, Enfamil theft operations have been charged with crimes normally reserved for mafiosos. So it's possible that Luke and Martin were part of a scheme to resell the baby formula as is.

On the other hand, there could've been a more nefarious purpose behind the pair's shameless shoplifting. According to the Retail Association of Nevada, powdered baby formula can be used as mixers in the manufacture of illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin.

At this time, it remains unclear whether these thieves were trying to make a quick buck, make some drugs, or fund some terrorist groups (!!), but perhaps more details will come to light during the pair's arraignment in court today.

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