By Jessica Selby
A male-female duo have made off with more than a $1,000 worth of items from the Coventry Wal-Mart.
Coventry Police are investigating, but are asking the public for help in identifying the suspects.
The store has video surveillance of both the male and the female suspects and have posted the images on Rhode Island Most Wanted, but are hoping that someone will reach out to them to help the detectives working the case to identify the suspects.
Coventry Police Detective Kevin Harris said that the management from the Coventry Wal-Mart first called Coventry Police on January 24th to report the first incident. An officer was dispatched to the store and obtained the necessary information which was then forwarded to detectives for further investigation.
Less than two weeks later, the store called back on February 7th, to report a second robbery by the same two suspects.
In both cases, Harris said that the suspects, a white male and a black female, enter the store at different times. He said that the male gets a carriage and walks to the rear of the store to where the baby formula is located. He said that the male suspect fills the carriage with baby formula and then, as he makes his way towards the exit door, he places a few other miscellaneous items like paper towels and toilet paper into the cart.
It is at this point that the black female walks into the store and engages the store greeter in conversation. This female, Harris said, is basically just acting as a distraction so that the male can then walk right by the greeter without being questioned.
Once the male has exited the store, the female turns and walks out behind him.
Both suspects then get into an unidentified vehicle that is waiting in the parking lot with a third, but unidentified suspect in the driver’s seat.
Harris said that although police are not certain of the vehicle they do have surveillance video of the getaway and police suspect that it is a four-door silver Sedan, possibly a Nissan Altima.
Harris said that the estimated value of merchandise from the first incident was assessed to be $624.83. He said that the large containers of Good Start baby formula, which is the product that they made off with, is valued at $19.97. Smaller cans, he said, are valued at $12.97. In that first incident, Harris said, the suspects made off with 17 large cans and 22 smaller sized cans.
On their second occasion, Harris said that the suspects made off with 50 cans, all of the smaller size. That incident valued $638.00.
Harris said that although this is a problem for the store, it also raises major concerns for parents who are purchasing these items. He said that it has become common knowledge that the owners of some smaller stores are purchasing these items illegally from these people, who are stealing them from larger stores, and then selling them on their shelves at a discounted rate.
The problem arises because these products are suppose to be temperature controlled and monitored and once the suspects remove it from the store illegally, there is guarantee that they are handling it properly before reselling it. Then the stores are selling it and parents are providing it as food to their infants.
Although their has been no reports of incident as a result of such happening at this point, that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen, Harris said.
Anyone with any information about the identity of the suspects in these cases is asked to call Coventry Police Detective Kevin Harris at 822-6225. If anyone wants more information about the cases, they can also visit the Rhode Island Most Wanted website, www.rimostwanted.org/index.cfm?ac=casedetails&CaseID=20110035 , where additional information is available.
It is indicated on that website that these two suspects may also be linked to similar cases at the Wal-Mart in Attleboro, Massachusetts.