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Suspected 'blue bonnet' bandit arrested for stealing baby formula from Publix stores

Posted at 9:26 AM, Jul 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-11 09:56:14-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla, -- Detectives have arrested a Fort Myers man suspected in the theft of baby formula from several Southwest Florida stores, even using a disguise in an attempt to throw off investigators.

21-year-old John Owens was arrested Tuesday night. He's facing several charges, including three counts of Grand Theft.

According to a Lee County Sheriff's Office report, witnesses at several Publix stores identified Owens as the suspect who stole or attempted to steal powdered baby formula canisters.

One manager confirmed he is the man accused of wearing a blue bonnet as part of a disguise during the theft. Cape Coral Police released surveillance video back in April of one incident.

A manager at the Publix on Bonita Beach Road says Owens stole as many as 30 cans of formula in three incidents on June 4th, 5th, and 11th.

A manager at the Bonita Springs store on Tamiami Trail says Owens stole 29 cans of formula on June 6th.

A manager at a Publix on Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers recognized Owens as the suspect in a theft at that store and referred to him as "blue bonnet".

In some of the thefts, Owens was said to be wearing a "Rasta" hat and fake beard.

In most cases, he concealed the formula in a bag and left without paying.