Cops Bust Tide Detergent Theft Ring Operating Out Of Barber Shop

The wave of Tide detergent crime keeps on rolling, sweeping through the country like some bizarre scene out of a neurotically clean person’s dream. Cops in Maryland say they’ve busted a theft ring peddling Tide on the black market. Come on, people. We told you how to save so you don’t need to buy ill-gotten detergent.

WJZ-13 in Baltimore says cops seized $125,000 worth of stolen merchandise at a barber shop in Prince George’s County, and among the items found in the bust was Tide detergent. Officials say the stuff was a key product in a major theft ring.

“There are some stores that will no longer sell the product because it gets stolen just that often,” said Julie Parker, director of Media Relations for the Prince George’s County Police Department.

As we explained before, some police officials liken the detergent to liquid gold for its value on the street. It’s a brand everyone knows, and keeps going up in price. It’s often sold for drugs, or just because detergent is something everyone needs, making it a hit on the black market.

Stores across the country are cracking down on thefts, installing sensors on laundry detergent to deter shoplifters.

Prince George’s County Police Bust Laundry Detergent Theft Ring [WJZ-13]


Edit Your Comment

  1. PurplePenquin says:

    I ain’t one to usually fuss about mis-spellings, but there is a world o’ difference between a “censor” and a “sensor”

  2. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    It also makes a nice aperitif for crackheads.

  3. themicah says:

    We switched a couple years ago from expensive Tide Free to the store brand “free and clear” liquid detergent at our neighborhood supermarket, which costs $3.50 for a 32 load bottle ($2.50-$3.00 when on sale). I’ve noticed no difference in the cleanliness of our clothes.

  4. alana0j says:

    I agree that the price of Tide is getting quite ridiculous…that’s why I buy Arm and Hammer. It works every bit as well, if not better, and costs way less. Taking it as far as to steal it and sell it on the streets?? I have lost all faith in our economy…

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I’ve had to go to Purex thanks to unemployment. The only concession I will make is Calgon water softener, which has done wonders for that nasty gray that was taking over my clothes. I guess I have hard water.

  5. Robofish says:

    Looks like it wasn’t a clean getaway

  6. scoosdad says:

    “Stores across the country are cracking down on thefts, installing censors on laundry detergent to deter shoplifters.”

    Because as everybody knows, laundry detergent packages are full of dirty stuff and need censorship.

  7. Straspey says:

    When you really stop to think about it, this is really a very sad commentary on our society — and the ultimate triumph for the companies which produce and market the product…even in spite of their claims that this an unfortunate event.

    That a commercial brand of laundry detergent (!) has taken a lever of hierarchal status and value among certain elements of the population, speaks to a complete distortion of a value system and the penchant for the public to be mesmerized and programmed by the great corporate-media mega-system.

    Of course, many people here will exclaim that they are impervious (aka, “too smart”) to be hoodwinked and manipulated by something like this —

    But that’s okay – because while you may be perfectly happy with the cheaper brand of laundry detergent, there are other, more subtle ways they have to influence our buying choices.

    If there ever was a consumer-related article here — this is certainly one of them.

    • Robofish says:

      It kinda bothers me that people are stealing this stuff, when you can easily get it cheaper at the store with a few coupons etc. Does this show that society is getting lazier and waiting for it to come to them, albeit with a premium “shipping and handling” price on it? Or is it just that for some reason people really love their Tide.

      Nice post +1

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        if they were using coupons for it, how likely would it be that they were stealing the coupons from newspaper boxes or coupon insert storage facilities?

        • Robofish says:

          lol. Awesome. Thankfully I am not an extreme couponer. My thought was that they steal it and sell it at a higher cost then what the store is selling it. Seems like my logic is flawed because they could sell it cheaper and still make a profit. DOH

      • jza1218 says:

        You can get it cheaper at the store than the guy stealing it for free?

        I hate you extreme couponers…

    • kella says:

      I simply don’t see ads anymore, I have adblock plus installed in Chrome, and my TV’s only purpose is Netflix. The only form of advertising I see on a regular basis is the actual box/bottle at the store. I can’t remember the last time I saw an ad for any household product.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      I think you’re reading way too much into it.

      Just because the most popular detergent (and a top pick according to Consumer Reports) is used as black market currency doesn’t mean the country has devolved in to a corporatacracy a la Rollerball.

      All it means is that the product is in demand and costs enough that a relatively small amount can be used to store a lot of value (unlike cheap and bulky items like paper towels). If it wasn’t detergent, it would be some other popular product. It used to be baby formula – Similac etc. – that held that distinction.

    • tooluser says:

      So you never saw that Brady Bunch episode, then?

  8. mrvw says:

    I just want to know how in the world people shoplift these jugs. They are huge and heavy.
    I know people could be getting entire cases from people out the back of the store, but there are people who take them from shelves.

    • Murph1908 says:

      Considering it’s a fireable offense to try to detain a ‘shoplifter’, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of these just walked right out the door in front of everyone.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      in my former retail career i had to deal with people who shoplifted oriental rugs and once, a three armed candleabra between her knees

  9. falnfenix says:

    …my only response to this is LOLWTFBALTIMORE. obviously a Tide theft ring is dangerous and must be stopped.

    …how about the drug dealers who are trying to move into my neighborhood? they’re significantly more dangerous, and we’d like them gone, thanks.

    • Robofish says:

      they don’t bring the city any tax revenue while the sale of tide does. And judging from the fact that the city is considering leasing big landmarks, I’d say they are hurting for some monies.

      This message brought to you by the Verizon Wireless Shot Tower

      • CalicoGal says:

        Very clever!

        Brought to you by Fort – 1-800-GOT-JUNK – McHenry

        • Robofish says:

          Haha awesome!

          Brought to you by the Baltimore BP Harbor ( cause it sure as hell looks like there was an oil spill in it )

    • CalicoGal says:

      This didn’t happen in Baltimore, it was in Prince George’s county, a DC “suburb.” (In a barbershop, no less… hmmmm)

      The report came from a Baltimore News station.

    • LMA says:

      Odds are, they are the same people.

  10. katarzyna says:

    WTH, how is this even a thing?

  11. SmokeyBacon says:

    I really have to say I do not understand the whole Tide black market thing – is it really that much better than every other detergent on the market? I used it years ago but it is just so expensive that I switched. Are people really that crazy for it that they won’t just pick another brand if the stores are out of it? Seriously, can someone explain this to me because I am just so confused (maybe I just don’t understand how black markets work – aren’t they more expensive then a regular store?)

  12. MPD01605 says:

    How would censors deter shoplifting? By bleeping out the curse words shoplifters supposedly frequently utter?

    • dolemite says:

      They put black boxes over all the products, so you don’t know if you are stealing “Tide” or “All”.

    • CubeRat says:

      You know, maybe they meant “censer”. So, they burn incense to drive away the thieves.

  13. dicobalt says:

    Tide shampoo?

  14. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    A barber shop in PG County.

    I’m sure this is a misunderstanding between middle-upper-class college educated individuals and the police. The mugshots and police reports will show the most classy upstanding citizens. Most likely ones that are involved in committed marriages raising their children together in a lovely home and not using welfare

  15. Firevine says:

    I am waiting for the inevitable rap song about Tide detergent. DIAMOND RINGS. ESCALADES. TIDE DETERGENT. CHICKEN WINGS!

    Yeah, instead of waiting, I’ll just write it myself.

  16. speaky2k says:

    “There are some stores that will no longer sell the product because it gets stolen just that often,”
    That means that people who want their Tide and live near those stores have to buy it on the black market, and that means that people have to steal it from somewhere else. So the new place stops stocking it due to theft, so that area starts buying it from the black market and soon the only place in the country to buy Tide will be on the black market since people are now hijacking the trucks as they leave the Tide plants because no store stocks Tide… Or maybe not.

  17. Caffinehog says:

    I guess these guys were… *puts on sunglasses*… Laundering money!

  18. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    The Tide containers shown in the picture sell for at least $19.99 in my local stores. I wouldn’t be surprised if these “fell off” the back of a truck somewhere.

  19. gman863 says:

    I guess it’s easier to boost and hide bottles of tide versus an ATM machine.

    (Ref. to the movie Barbershop)

  20. MrEvil says:

    There’s gotta be some chemical in Liquid Tide that can be used to make Crystal Meth. That’s the only logical explanation as to why this stuff’s getting pilfered by the truck load. It’s probably getting too expensive to just purchase outright so they are now stealing it to cut a bigger profit.

    • Mrs. w/1 child says:

      I think the same thing. There has to be some other nefarious purpose tide is good for other than laundry. There is no other reason for crackheads all across the country to steal the exact same thing – it must get someone high somehow.

      • BBBB says:

        It’s just simple theft to sell for cash.

        One possible path:
        Fence pays shoplifter/embezzler $2 each. Sells to fleamarketer for $6 each. Fleamarketer asks $15 each and sometimes lets customers negotiate down to 12.

        One local store manager told me their biggest problem item is razor blades – high price to size ratio and easy to conceal. They put razors in locked cases now.

    • CherieBerry says:

      Yes, it is used by some street chemists in the production of meth. I don’t understand why the media keeps failing to report on the most logical reason behind the blackmarket sales.

    • RiverStyX says:

      Not too hard to explain..Look back at 2008 during the surge in the value on scrap metal and how thieves were raiding supply yards for copper. Criminal trends are typically signs of a bigger problem at hand..Tide is just unnecessarily expensive and its always in demand, like baby formula. It’s very easy to fence or sell it at a flea market/swap meet or even to your neighbors at a deep discount. For this type of black market to thrive, there has to be a high demand and high price in retail..Then the reseller sees a niche in letting it go for a lower price while making pure profit because he paid $0 in overhead.

      Just watch Goodfellas, this scheme was mentioned when they took over the nightclub and even when they were boosting cargo trucks from the airport…They stole things that had a lot of value..Cigarettes, razor blades, shrimp and lobster..”Doesn’t matter, its all profit”..Yeah?

  21. ancientone567 says:

    I stocked up on tide 5 years ago when it was cheaper and I still have enough for another 5 years lol

  22. Firevine says:

    Well I guess this situation…

    *puts on sunglasses*

    …all came out in the wash.

  23. czechyoself says:

    I watched the news segment last night when they interviewed some of the barbers. They were shocked (SHOCKED I tell you!) to learn that this was going on at their shop right under their noses. You could hear the incredulity in the reporter’s voice.

  24. BradenR says:

    The stealing of genuine Tide for resale may be a bit bitter than local crooks who removed TIDE bottles from recycle bins, refilled them with whatever, and resold them. Tide will need a special cap soon to verify it’s originality

  25. BradenR says:

    Not original thinkers, like our local thieves. Why steal TIDE when the bottles can be found in the recycle bins, refilled with whatever, and then resold?

  26. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    If the economy doesn’t make a big turnaround I wouldn’t be surprised to see even weirder things popping up on the black market.

  27. TuxMan says:

    Does not surprise me.
    My regular stylist could not fit me in and I needed a cut before a big last min fashion show . Tried the barber shop, but they turned me away said they couldn’t cut Caucasian hair.

    Starting to think the local Mall barber shop only caters to the low life thugs of our community.

  28. RiverStyX says:

    Tide sucks, stick with hecho en mexico brands that have Phosphorus: Ariel, Roma, Foca, Blanca Nieves, 1-2-3.

    Ariel is for seriously heavy duty laundry, roma has the most phosphorus, and foca suds like crazy. You can mop your floors and do dishes with blanca nieves and 1-2-3.

  29. sahovaman says:

    I had hospice care workers stealing tide from us. They emptied the detergent in zip lock bags and milk containers leaving the bottles empty where they sat. After calling and bitching at the hospice service and promicing the woman was fired, they sent another worker who sat and stuffed her face while my grandmother suffered a stroke.