People Are Stealing Lots Of Tide Detergent

Mar 12, 2012
Originally published on March 12, 2012 8:44 am

The Daily reports:

Law enforcement officials across the country are puzzled over a crime wave targeting an unlikely item: Tide laundry detergent.

Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it. And retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid.

The obvious question — why? — has a pretty simple answer. Tide is recognizable, easy to steal, hard to track, and can be re-sold for $5 to $10 a bottle.

The other obvious question — is this for real, or is this a ginned-up trend story? — is harder to answer. The story does not have clear data, but it does have a bunch of good anecdotes from around the country.

One guy in Minnesota stole $25,000 in Tide over 15 months before getting caught last year. A detective in Kentucky calls Tide "the item to steal." The article also quotes law enforcement officials from Oregon and Colorado Springs, and Maryland. The Maryland anecdote is particularly rich:

...a recent drug sting turned up more Tide that cocaine.

"We sent in an informant to buy drugs. The dealer said, 'I don't have drugs, but I could sell you 15 bottles of Tide,' " Sprague told The Daily. "Upstairs in the drug dealer's bedroom was about 14 bottles of Tide laundry soap. We think [users] are trading it for drugs."

Read the full story here.

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