Skip to comments.GRIME WAVE: Itís a dirty job: Police nationwide take on soaring Tide detergent theft
Posted on 03/12/2012 3:39:59 PM PDT by Hunton Peck
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.
One Tide taker in West St. Paul, Minn., made off with $25,000 in the product over 15 months before he was busted last year.
That was unique that he stole so much soap, said West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver. The name brand is [all] Tide. Amazing, huh?
Tide has become a form of currency on the streets. The retail price is steadily high roughly $10 to $20 a bottle and its a staple in households across socioeconomic classes.
Tide can go for $5 to $10 a bottle on the black market, authorities say. Enterprising laundry soap peddlers even resell bottles to stores.
Theres no serial numbers and its impossible to track, said Detective Larry Patterson of the Somerset, Ky., Police Department, where authorities have seen a huge spike in Tide theft. Its the item to steal.
Why Tide and not, say, Wisk or All? Police say its simply because the Procter & Gamble detergent is the most popular and, with its Day-Glo orange logo, most recognizable of brands.
George Cohen, spokesman for Philadelphia-based Checkpoint Systems, which produces alarms being tested on Tide in CVS stores, said: Name brands are easier to resell.
In organized retail crimes they would love to steal the iPad. Its very easy to sell. Harder to sell the unknown Korean brand."
Most thieves load carts with dozens of bottles, then dash out the door. Many have getaway cars waiting outside.
These are criminals coming into the store to steal thousands of dollars of merchandise, said Detective Harrison Sprague of the Prince Georges County, Md., Police Department, where Tide is known as liquid gold among officers.
He and other law enforcement officials across the country say Tide theft is connected to the drug trade. In fact, a recent drug sting turned up more Tide that cocaine.
We sent in an informant to buy drugs. The dealer said, I dont have drugs, but I could sell you 15 bottles of Tide, Sprague told The Daily. Upstairs in the drug dealers bedroom was about 14 bottles of Tide laundry soap. We think [users] are trading it for drugs.
Police in Gresham, Ore., said most Tide theft is perpetrated by users feeding their habit.
Theyll do it right in front of a cop car buying heroin or methamphetamine with Tide, said Detective Rick Blake of the Gresham Police Department. We would see people walking down the road with six, seven bottles of Tide. They were so blatant about it.
Robyn Cafasso, chief deputy district attorney in Colorado Springs, Colo., said the problem is nothing more than organized shoplifting and can be stopped. One method is to toughen punishments for recidivists.
Theres this old-school thought that this is a shoplift, so it goes into the municipal system, Cafasso said. Were starting to actually get more habitual offenders out of the municipal system and refile charges to make it a more serious offense.
Cafasso agreed that theres been a major upswing in Tide theft. Everybody knows that liquid detergent Tide is an expensive item, she said.
The pharmacy chain CVS is locking down Tide and other laundry detergents in certain parts of the country alongside flu medication and other commonly stolen items. Joe LaRocca, of the National Retail Federation, said: Its a game of cat and mouse. Theres a real balance that takes place between customer service the product available on the shelf and securing the merchandise.
Officials at Tide are trying to keep their hands clean.
We dont have any insight as to why the phenomenon is happening, but it is certainly unfortunate, said Sarah Pasquinucci, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble.
Welcome to Obama’s America.
Surely you jest! It’s not April 1 yet...
I'm sure they'll clean up.
“Sure, they’re trying to downplay it. But I’ll bet it’s part of some huge money-laundering operation.”
And George Soros and the Tides Foundation are behind it.
Don't worry -- it'll all come out in the wash.
You've broken the case already!
So what specific chemical in Tide is being reduced to make Meth or some other designer drug the others do not posses??
And don't...oh, you know the rest...
Bama wins a couple of national championships and look what happens.
It wasn’t hard, really, an informant decided to “come clean”.
(Oh I can hear the groaning now....)
"There is a Tide in the affairs of men/ Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune"
What's the profit margin on that stolen stuff again?
I do sometimes, however, jest about it.
As Washington households struggle under the curse of the ‘no phosphate’ mandate, Spokanites can be seen in Coeur d’Alene Wal-Marts and Costco establishments bootlegging cases of effective detergents back over the state line. Tobacco, too, come to think of it.
P&G was supposed to introduce a new product — Tide Pods, a line of highly concentrated, three chamber liquid detergent tablets. Convenience stores would have to lock these down like they do with their razor blades!