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Man pleads to stealing baby formula from Willmar store

WILLMAR -- Liban Hassan Osman, 28, of Blaine, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Monday on a gross misdemeanor charge of theft for his role in stealing more than $500 in baby formula from a Willmar grocer in January.

Osman was sentenced in Kandiyohi County District Court to 365 days in jail, which was stayed, a $500 fine and a year of probation.

Under a plea agreement, a felony charge for fifth-degree drug possession was dismissed.

Osman and Ismail Abokor Mohamud, 27, of Minneapolis, were charged after the Jan. 14 incident at Cub Foods in Willmar. Mohamud faces a felony theft charge, plus a fifth-degree controlled substance charge. His next court appearance is April 23.

The charges were filed after Willmar police were called around 6:45 p.m. Jan. 14 to Cub Foods, where an employee witnessed two Somali men apparently shoplifting baskets full of baby formula and then leaving in a vehicle.

An officer located the vehicle along Lakeland Drive and stopped it for speeding. The officer observed a large quantity of baby formula cans in the backseat. The driver was identified as Osman, the passenger as Mohamud. Osman denied being at Cub Foods.

A search of the vehicle also revealed 19 grams of Khat, a narcotic substance.

The men were brought back to the store, where the employee positively identified them as the men he'd seen exiting the store. Surveillance video also showed the men taking the items.

The value of the 35 cans of formula and the two shopping baskets was estimated at $501.65.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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