Published March 12, 2012
NEW YORK – Law enforcement officials across the US have been left baffled by a crime wave targeting an unlikely item -- Tide laundry detergent.
Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that 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 thief in West St. Paul, Minn., stole $25,000 of the product over 15 months before he was arrested 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 it's a staple in households across socioeconomic classes.
Tide can go for $5 to $10 a bottle on the black market, authorities say, and some thieves even resell it to stores.
"There's no serial numbers and it's impossible to track," said Detective Larry Patterson of the Somerset, Ky., Police Department, where authorities have seen a huge spike in Tide theft. "It's the item to steal."