Police find backpack of stolen formula near men walking away from crime scene

MADISON, Wis. - Two Madison men were arrested Saturday afternoon after police found a backpack containing stolen formula near them while they were walking away from a reported crime scene.

Police were called just after 1:45 p.m. to the Hy-Vee grocery store at 3801 East Washington Avenue for reports of a theft that had just occurred, according to a release.

Officers were told three black men wearing dark coats and backpacks left heading toward Mendota Street, officials said.

When an officer noticed men matching that description less than a block away from Hy-Vee, he confronted them, according to the release.

The three men denied knowing anything about the $170 worth of baby formula that had just been stolen from the store, but a backpack found within inches of the men contained the missing products, officials said.

Witness statements and video surveillance led to the arrest of 52-year-old Robert Lee Baker and 47-year-old Willie Dean, both of Madison, according to the release. Dean originally lied about his identity, but Baker was honest about the Hy-Vee theft.

Baker was arrested on a tentative charge of retail theft and on a probation violation. Dean was arrested on a tentative charge of party to the crime of retail theft and on a probation violation.

Officials said there are several past cases that might have implications on additional charges for the two men.

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