YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A trio of heroin-addicted baby formula shoplifters had a list of pharmacies in 35 towns when they were caught moments after a theft in Old Tappan, authorities said this afternoon. All but four of the targets are in Bergen County, they said.
A manager at the Old Tappan CVS in the Bi-State Plaza called police Saturday night after one of the trio entered the store with an empty tote bag, used the bathroom, then left after filling the bag with baby formula, Police Chief Thomas Shine said.
“When confronted, the man ran toward an idling red Honda Civic operated by a female driver,” Shine said.
Responding Officer Christopher Reilly stopped a car fitting the description of the one broadcast on Old Tappan Road.
The driver, 24-year-old Jessica E. Woolf of Bergenfield, “appeared nervous and visibly shaken,” Shine said.
Reilly and Officer Jason Rothenburger interviewed her and her two passengers — Nicholas Patino, 26, also of Bergenfield ( above, left ) and 27-year-old Joel Hille of Hackensack ( right ) — the chief said.
Woolf then consented to a vehicle search that Shine said turned up a Whole Foods bag filled with containers of baby formula.
They also found another bag containing yellow top containers with CVS security labels attached to them, he said.
After the officers ordered everyone out of the car, Rothenburger spotted two sheets of paper inside with the store names and locations, the chief said.
Hypodermic syringes also were found, along with additional shoplifted proceeds from the A&P at the plaza.
“The suspects admitted to being heroin addicts,” Shine said. “They allegedly shoplift on a daily basis to support this habit.
“The items taken are resold to bodegas in Paterson,” he said.
Shine said the stores on the list are in: Allendale, Bergenfield, Closter, Cresskill, Dumont, Edgewater, Englewood, Fair Lawn, Fairview, Fort Lee, Garfield, Glen Rock, Hackensack, Mahwah, Midland Park, Montvale, Old Tappan, Paramus, Park Ridge, Passaic, Paterson, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, River Edge, Rochelle Park, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Tenafly, Totowa, Washington Twp., Wayne, Westwood, Woodcliff Lake, Wood Ridge and Wyckoff.
An investigation was continuing.
Both men were being held in the Bergen County Jail — Patino on $5,000 bail and Hille on $3,500.
Patino is charged with conspiracy to commit shoplifting and possession of a toxic chemical for the purpose of inhaling — a “potpourri mix that is inhaled in order to become intoxicated,” Shine said.
Hill was charged with shoplifting and possession of hypodermic syringe.
Woolf was released without bail on charges of conspiracy to commit shoplifting and possession of a syringe.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.