Police: Woman stole baby formula to pay for crack

Rhiannon Ladue

A woman is accused of stealing baby formula from an Apple Valley retail store and then selling it to pay for crack cocaine.

Rhiannon Lea Ladue, 33, of Farmington, allegedly stole more than $1,600 worth of Similac baby formula and other items between January and April of this year from the Target stores on Cedar Avenue and Pilot Knob Road.

The criminal complaint gives the following account:

Target’s loss prevention department contacted Apple Valley police in April to report numerous thefts in which Ladue was captured on video surveillance stealing merchandise.

Two incidents – on Jan. 30 and March 31 – at the Target store at 15150 Cedar Ave. saw the theft of 44 cans of baby formula as well as diapers and other items; the merchandise was valued at approximately $715.

In the other three incidents – on Jan. 30, April 1 and April 4 – at the Target store at 15560 Pilot Knob Road, Ladue allegedly stole 50 cans of baby formula, a baby swing and a clothes hamper with a total value of about $900.

Police linked Ladue to the thefts when it was determined she was the registered owner of a vehicle seen leaving the Target parking lot after one of the incidents.

Ladue, who was charged Sept. 13 in district court with felony theft, told police that after she stole the baby formula she then sold it to someone who helped her get money for crack cocaine, the complaint said.

Inver Grove Heights police arrested Ladue Aug. 22 on an unrelated charge, according to the Dakota County Jail website.

Ladue is now serving a sentence for a probation violation in the Ramsey County Jail, with her release date for that offense set for Jan. 11 of next year.

If convicted of the one count of felony theft, she faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.