|Susan M. Cottongim - Imad I. Alqran|
Imad I. Alquran, 48, and Susan M. Cottongim, 42, both from Garfield, Ky. have been charged with receiving stolen property and are behind bars in Christian County.
According to court records, Walmart’s loss prevention officer in Ozark Jared Posey said “he noticed an unidentified male that he recognized from a company e-mail he received earlier in the month.”
As Posey watched the man leaving the store, he saw that Alquran "tried to hide his cart in the cart bin" as he was approached by store personnel near the store's exit.
Alquran was detained while Ozark police officers Kane Northcutt and Anthony Appleton responded to the store.
While being questioned about the alleged formula heist, Alquran "became irate ... stated he did not steal anything and that he was going to pay for the formula," according to the incident report.
Posey told Northcutt and Appleton that surveillance video showed Alquran driving a van onto the parking lot and that another person was still inside the vehicle.
|Items recovered from Cottongim's vehicle|
"Appleton advised me that Susan was the owner of the van, and that we had permission to look inside. Upon looking inside the van, I discovered hundreds of cans of baby formula, along with numerous bags of potato chips, cereal and toilet paper," Northcutt said in his report.
According to the probable cause statement, Cottongim told investigators that "Imad goes and does the work in Walmart and leaves with milk (baby formula.)"
Cottongim told cops that Alquran sells it to "some guy." She said she wasn't sure what happens to it then but "thinks it goes to New York or Lexington." Cottongim told officers the couple spent about three hours that day hitting stores in Republic, Nixa and Ozark.
Officers recovered 427 items valued at $5,269 from the van, including 358 cans of baby formula valued at $13 and $14 each. Other items seized included cartons of energy drinks, toilet paper, paper towels and potato chips.
This arrest sheds light on a crime that is trending nationwide. Joseph LaRocca of the National Retail Federation says thieves usually steal then resell merchandise, possibly over the Internet, in a flea market or on the black market.
Judge John Waters set Alquran and Cottongim's bond at $5,000 cash.