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Stealing, Trading Baby Formula for Heroin Land Man in Jail, Police Say

A man from Friendship, WI, is accused of stealing baby formula and trading it for heroin.

A 52-year-old man from Friendship, WI, is facing multiple charges after police say he stole baby formula, traded it for heroin and drove under the influence.

Michael Bortmann was charged Tuesday in Racine County Circuit Court with the following:

  • Misdemeanor intentional theft;
  • Second degree reckless endangerment;
  • Possession of narcotic drugs subsequent offense;
  • Operating a motor vehicle while revoked OWI related; 
  • Failure to install ignition interlock device; and
  • Possession of drug paraphrenalia

If convicted of all charges, Bortmann faces up to 15 years, four months in prison and/or up to $48,600 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, a witness at Pick 'n Save, 5111 Douglas Avenue, on Monday told Caledonia Police she saw Bortmann fill a basket with baby formula and exit the store through the north exit. The woman told officers the defendant did this more than once.

Police say the woman said she followed Bortmann out to the parking lot, yelling for him to stop and saying she knew he'd stolen formula the day before as well. Bortmann reportedly threw the bags of formula into the back of a red truck then backed up so fast he almost hit the woman.

A couple of hours later, the complaint reads, officers spotted Bortmann's truck on Highway V and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. Additional squads were dispatched, and the defendant was eventually stopped near the intersection of 7-Mile and Nicholson Roads.

Officers searched the vehicle for the baby formula but say they didn't find any. They did, however, locate cotton balls and a rubber band as well as a brown substance in a plastic bag that later tested positive for heroin. According to the complaint, Bortmann admitted to officers that he stole the baby formula, traded it for heroin and got high an hour before being stopped. Officers say they found fresh needle marks on Bortmann's arms.

The defendant was driving on a revoked license and with the requirement that any vehicle he drives must have the ignition interlock device. The truck, police say, is registered to Bortmann and did not have the device installed.

Bortmann remains in the Racine County Jail on a $1,000 cash bond. His preliminary hearing is Feb. 13 before Court Commissioner Alice A. Rudebusch.

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