Usually when there’s a spike in thefts of common household products, there’s some other nefarious use the thieves have in mind than say, getting your whites really bright and keeping your darks from fading. But in the case of a recent crime wave involving Tide detergent, it seems the soap is being stolen just because it’s such a well-known brand.
The Daily cites law enforcement officials from around the nation who say they’ve been fighting a surge in thefts of Tide laundry detergent. It’s such a problem that retailers are starting to put locks on the product at stores, and some cities are even setting up special task forces to fight the crime wave.
The reasons? Everyone knows what Tide does, the brand name makes it attractive, it’s always kind of expensive at $10 to $20 a bottle, and everyone has dirty laundry to wash, so thieves can resell it.
It’s become, apparently, a “common currency” on the black market — even earning the name “liquid gold” among cops in Maryland. One alleged thief stole $25,000 in Tide before he was caught in Minnesota last year. And lest you think any brand will do — nope, it’s just Tide.
“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.”
Some cops say it is connected to the drug trade in certain areas, as police have busted drug dealers and found more Tide than drugs on the premises. It seems users are reportedly trading Tide for drugs.
The heists go down like some kind of wacky comedy, with thieves running out the store doors with shopping carts loaded with bottles, and into getaway cars waiting outside.
Proctor & Gamble, the makers of Tide, are also in the dark as to why their product has become such a hot commodity.
“We don’t have any insight as to why the phenomenon is happening, but it is certainly unfortunate,” said Sarah Pasquinucci, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble.
Previously in odd thefts: Baby Formula Is A Prized Item For Shoplifting Rings, Drug Smugglers