The owner of Sammy’s Market in Belleville is facing charges of stealing more than $500 worth of baby formula.
Ehssan Hamdan has been charged with the theft of Enfamil infant formula from Schnucks Markets in Belleville in June 2016. Hamdan was arrested April 13 and posted $2,000 for his release on bond. He has pleaded not guilty.
Hamdan, 24, was called to a Belleville Liquor Commission hearing and had his liquor license revoked in September 2016. During the hearing, Belleville Detective Shane Brown testified that Hamdan was recruiting people to steal baby formula from other stores and then stocking the formula on his own store’s shelves.
Mayor Mark Eckert, also the city’s liquor commissioner, had called the hearing after suspending the liquor license, alleging that electrical and sewer line work on Sammy’s Market property at 530 N. Douglas Ave was done without authorization from the city. Hamdan was not otherwise charged with any crimes.
Brown testified that two other people were arrested in connection with theft of baby formula June 30, 2016.
“They stated they were provided a shopping list from Sammy himself and what Enfamil products to go out and steal,” Brown said at the hearing in September. “They gave me a detailed explanation of the products they were given, how much they are paid by Mr. Hamdan for those products and other items that he requested they go out and steal.”
Brown said the two people would receive $3, $5 or $6 for a container of baby formula. The containers typically sell for $18 to $32.
Brown said police had been investigating a rash of baby formula thefts across the city.
Hamdan is being represented by attorney Jack Kloess, who could not be reached for comment.
Phone calls to the store Thursday went unanswered. It apparently has been closed for months.