A theft from the Bordentown Avenue grocery store in Asbury Park, New Jersey, in early February was one of a rash of baby formula thefts reported by New Jersey police departments during the month. In some cases, baby formula is stolen by people who need it to feed their children. In other cases, law enforcement officials said baby formula is stolen and repackaged to unsuspecting consumers, or the substance is used as a cutting agent for illegal narcotics. The vice president of industry relations for the Food Marketing Institute, an Arlington, Virginia-based organization that represents retailers and wholesalers, sees the thefts as part of a growing problem with organized retail crime. Baby formula is a staple item for shoplifting rings because baby formula, at around 20 dollars a can, is expensive and always in demand, he said. Shoplifters, also called boosters, supply stolen baby formula and other items to fences who in turn resell them in other stores, online, and at flea markets, he said. He said people who buy shoplifted formula do not necessarily realize it is stolen.