DECATUR — After a lengthy police investigation involving a confidential source wearing a wire, a store owner and two employees of a near-northside market were arrested for allegedly buying stolen baby formula and selling it in their store.

Mohammed Aljloob, 76, Taher Aldhufri, 43, and Nadar Moqbil, 35, were arrested Tuesday and booked into the Macon County Jail. They were released Wednesday, after each suspect posted $3,000 cash bail.

The police began the investigation in November, when a male was arrested for retail thefts from Kroger stores. He told police he had been stealing baby formula and reselling it to North Main Market, 1080 N. Main St., for the past six months, according to an affidavit by a Decatur police officer.

He said people at the store placed orders with him, and they knew the formula was stolen. He told police he had been selling cans of formula to the market for $5 a can. The store would then sell each can for $16 to $20. That suspect agreed to aid an investigation by serving as a confidential source for the police.

After obtaining a warrant, the police sent the source into the store with some cans of formula on Dec. 17. Concealed audio/video equipment revealed that the source walked into the store with six formula cans. The source told the store owner, Aldhufri, he only took six cans because there was too much security at Kroger’s.

Aldhufri told him, “you’ve stolen them, I don’t want to know,” according to the affidavit. The source said he was taking the risk by stealing the formula and wanted $6 a can. Aldhufri gave him $35.

On Jan. 4, the source returned with six more cans. He told Aljloob he had been “doing this since the summer” and wanted $6 a can. Aljloob paid him the $36. On Jan. 17, after the source sold more cans to Aljloob, he directly put them onto the shelf.

During the investigation, a police detective repeatedly entered the store and purchased the marked cans of formula, for $16 to $19. A total of 33 cans, with retail value of $536.02, were purchased from the source by store employees.

Aldhufri and Aljloob were each booked into the jail on charges of possession of stolen property over $500 and burglary. Moqbil was arrested for conspiracy to commit burglary. They are all due in circuit court March 22 for their arraignments.

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