Thieves Suck Dyson Vacuums Off Store Shelves, Onto Black Market

Despite the much-publicized Tide thefts earlier this year, the idea of massive theft rings targeting household cleaning supplies seems kind of weird. It shouldn’t. It makes sense that Dyson vacuum cleaners are an ideal target for thieves: they’re pricey, and their great brand recognition gives them an impressive black-market resale value. That’s why dirtbags are stealing Dysons by the warehouseful nationwide.

The Daily looked into the phenomenon, quizzing everyone from retailers on the ground to Dyson engineers about the products’ appeal to thieves. A vacuum retailing for $650 can sell for about $400, which isn’t bad for hot merchandise.

One notable thief near Chicago liked to grab a Dyson box and sneak out a fire exit into a waiting car, and kept up the profitable hobby for four years.

“We are aware that theft is occurring and we’re working aggressively with our retail partners to figure out new ways to prevent it,” a Dyson spokeswoman told The Daily.



Edit Your Comment

  1. MutantMonkey says:

    Vacuum DRM and Activation. /s

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This explains the myriad number of opportunities you can buy refurbished Dyson vacuums: reclaimed merchandise.

    • RickN says:

      Amazon’s Deal of the Day is a “Factory Reconditioned Dyson DC27 Total Clean Upright Vacuum” for $191.99.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    This just sucks. The dirtbags just come in and clean the place out leaving a vacuum of empty store shelves. Someone needs to filter these guys out of society.

    Takes a bow and ducks backstage again.

  4. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’m still figuring out how to detach a Dyson hand dryer and smuggle it out in my pants. Those things are awesome.

  5. lehrdude says:

    I blame MegaMaid!

  6. Bladerunner says:

    I wants me one of those purple Pet Dysons, to replace my 20-year-old Kirby…

    • Bagels says:

      get it….it’s awesome. imo, well worth the price

      • Bladerunner says:

        What kind of pets do you have to use it with? Mrs. Bladerunner has rats, who throw their poop and bedding outside the cage. Because they’re little bastards. Do you think it’s got the chops to handle that?

      • nugatory says:

        I agree they are an amazing vacuum. Easily gets the dog hair out of the carpet/rugs and the “ball” makes it so easy to maneuver.

  7. CherieBerry says:

    The Tide thefts had to do with drug production.

  8. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I’m always amazed at how popular Dysons are, given their average to below-average rankings with Consumer Reports, coupled with very high prices.

    • Marlin says:

      Same way Fram oil filters, costly clothes, etc… do, marketing to dumb people.

    • Joe User says:

      Peter Lemongello marketing. It’s good because we told you on TV that it was good. How are you not buying such a great item?

      Personally, I would much rather have a high quality Hoover.

    • nicless says:

      Well, as a person who has used one I’d say that they are popular because they work well. Despite any rankings or what not, my parents have had theirs for 9 years and it works as well as the day they bought it, which is to say really well.

      • sirwired says:

        But there are plenty of other vacuums on the market that also work really well and last equally as long. And more importantly, they are a fraction of the price.

        • The Twilight Clone says:

          We’ve got a $100 Bissel vac. Received it for a wedding gift in 2003. Works fine.

    • Costner says:


      I’ve used them, I’ve seen head to head comparisons, I’ve compared them to other vacs… there is nothing special about them aside from the price. I think a lot of people figure this out within 30 days of purchase which explains why you can be refurbished Dyson’s at Sears, Best Buy, Amazon, Buy, Woot and about a dozen other online retailers.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      I use a RIDGID shop vac for home use. Works better than any vacuum I’ve had in the past and only cost $50.

      • MutantMonkey says:

        I agree they are superior to all other non-shopvac vacs… except the noise. It’s like having a jet engine in the house.

      • Costner says:

        That works great on a hard surface, but without a beater bar it won’t do much on carpeting.

        Also, shopvacs generally are not sealed units meaning even if they have a filter installed the exhaust is dirty in comparison. With a new fine filter my Ridgid shopvac is pretty good, but there is only one stage of filter so it isn’t like it is HEPA certified or anything. Plus, the motor housing isn’t 100% airtight so it can bleed some fine dust, although the same is true for most “home” vacs too since so few are actually sealed. Miele makes some nice sealed units, but they are just as expensive as a Dyson (and in some cases even more).

        The other issue with a shopvac is the noise though. Most aren’t insulated and they are so loud you almost need to wear hearing protection. You can get a muffler attachment for shopvacs, but it only reduces the noise from “deafening” down to “ear bleeding”… not a huge improvement.

        Finally, I’m not a fan of having to drag the bin around behind me, just as I’ve never been a fan of canister vacs. For people who prefer that style of vacuum, I suppose that is a non issue. One word of caution I would give to anyone using a shopvac indoors is to check the wheels to be sure they aren’t a type of plastic that could scratch floors. Some regular (home) vacs use rubber coated wheels or a softer plastic, but Shopvacs typically use a hard plastic wheel since they are meant to hold up in garages, construction sites, and workshops etc.

    • imasqre says:

      The Dyson was the best thing I ever bought. I actually drool over the new models. They are easy to clean, pivot and simply work well.

  9. BelleSade says:
  10. eccsame says:

    I wish people would stop using the term “black market”. It’s hurtful and has racist overtones. Historically, the “Black Market” was where Black people had to shop during segregation. It was rumored that, if you needed illicit goods that you could go around to the back of the “Black Market” to get them.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Are you sure the term black market hasn’t exist well before the “Black Market” you are referring to ever existed?

    • Cerne says:

      Was that sarcasm or stupidity?

    • evilrobot says:

      And what racial overtones are implied grey market goods?

    • CherieBerry says:

      I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic, but “Black Market” has ZERO racial connotations. It goes back thousands of years to the tarnish of silver coins.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      BLACK MARKET was originally used during World War II meant the market in buying and selling stolen military supplies, such as clothing, blankets, food, and truck tires. The term had also seen some use in World War I, when it entered English as a translation of the German Schwarzmarkt. From I Hear America Talking by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976). Another source says the phrase got its start in 1931 and meant unauthorized dealing in commodities that are rationed or of which the supply is otherwise restricted. After a slow start in the 1930s, mainly in the area of currency dealing, the term really took off in the disrupted economic circumstances of World War II. From 20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years? by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).

      The term was well recognised at the start of WW2 and was familiar to the public – at least in the East End of London. Only very rarely did it involved military items, mainly consumer goods that were very hard to find, and often stolen.

    • yankinwaoz says:

      Seriously? Are you a troll? Please, prove your claim. I seriously doubt (a) there was segregated markets, (b) the term can do describe these markets.

      I think you are on the ONLY person on earth who thinks that what Black Market means. Trust me, nobody thinks the term has anything to do with segregation.

      If you think about it logically, then there would actually be the common term “white market”. But there isn’t. If there were segregation to the extreme you think, then there would be “white only markets”, not “black markets”. No self respecting, segregation approving, bigot would allow himself to be banned from a store that caters to black customers.

    • Fishnoise says:

      My OED2 lists the 1931 use pointed out by Blueskylaw (it was in The Economist), but refers to the use of “black” in the word as following the meaning of “indicating disgrace, censure, liability to punishment” which itself has a first citation from 1612 — although I’m almost certain that particular use of “black” in English is older by a generation or more.

      I’ve never seen “black market” used to designate segregated shopping, not even as an intentional pun.

      I have seen, however, trolls fake “politically correct” complaints to try to rile folks up.

  11. ben_marko says:

    My wife and I bought a $500 Dyson about three years ago, and it lasted about a year before breaking – it got to the point where it didn’t have the vacuuming power of an asthmatic quadreplegic. A real lemon. I have friends who have also had negatove experiences with Dysons, and they don’t seem to amount to a steep price that hinges soley on the brand name.

    On the flip side, we now have had the same Hoover for two years, and it still works great.

    • wildbill says:

      I originally bought one because it didn’t have a bag and we were dealing with a bug problem (bug similar to lady bugs, but they swam and I was vacuuming them up by the thousands) and they were stinking up the bags in our old vacuum.

      The main thing you have to watch with the dynson is cleaning out the little holes. I usually just take it outside and bang my hand on the side or tap it gently on the ground to shake out the clogs. You can also hose it down with water. Never had a problem and it really works well. Ours is now about 7 yeas old.

    • Yorick says:

      I’m still using my grandmother’s Hoover from the 1960’s.

    • RickN says:

      >>it got to the point where it didn’t have the vacuuming power of an asthmatic quadreplegic

      Unless you did a side-by-side comparison, I dispute your results. If you did such a comparison, is it on Youtube?

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

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around how someone steals something the size of a vacuum cleaner and can actually get out of the store unseen. Especially the fire exit statement above – don’t those have alarms?

    • gman863 says:

      Hiding something with one big ball in your pants?

      Insert Lance Armstrong joke here.

    • oloranya says:

      They don’t get out unseen, but retail employees aren’t allowed to stop them.

      What many will also do is, during a busy time, take an item off of the shelf and go to the returns counter. The returns cashier is so busy they don’t notice which direction the “customer” came from and when the return is denied for lack of receipt/ID/etc. they walk out the front door with it.

      I work retail, this happens on an almost daily basis. We’re not allowed to accuse the person or stop them in the name of ‘customer service’

  13. sirwired says:

    Dyson vacuums are nice enough I suppose. But they really aren’t any better than any number of other vacuums that you can buy for a fraction of the price. Other then the admittedly neat-looking design, I find all of Dyson’s stuff to be way overpriced for what you get.

    (A fan costing several hundred $$$… seriously?)

  14. dwtomek says:

    Amazon has refurbed Dysons as their deal of the day today… Coincidence? /s

  15. Costner says:

    I’d love to blame James Dyson for this… but alas he just makes a product that the people want, and when people want something, thieves often find a way to give it to them.

  16. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I have a commercial Riccar upright vacuum I bought about ten years ago. I love it. The best thing is no blowback. And I supported a local business by purchasing it.

  17. Dano says:

    “That’s why dirtbags are stealing Dysons ……..”

    I see what you did there…

  18. atthec44 says:

    I am a firm believer in the saying that “you get what you pay for”.

    That being said, I have a hard time believing that a Dyson works 5-6 times better than the Eureka vacuum I paid about $100 for.

    • Costner says:

      Well this case, the bulk of the price premium goes directly into Dyson marketing. I’ve yet to see any side by side, scientific, or unbiased testing which has shown Dyson to be vastly superior to any other brand of vacuum cleaner. In fact, the last Consumer Reports article I read showed Dyson’s were not nearly as good on carpet as several vacuums that cost less than 1/3rd of a Dyson.

      Besides – there is at least one carpet manufacturer which specifically voids their warranty if you use a Dyson. The reasoning is the beater bar uses more aggressive bristles which result in damage to the carpet fiber, and there is no height adjustment so on softer carpets the beater bar can “dig” into the fibers.. So when someone claims their Dyson pulls up a lot of dirt their old vac missed, ask them to check what is actually being pulled up… it might just be the carpet itself.

  19. patty says:

    I have the purple beastie. I actually asked for it because is sucks up the dog and cat fur like nobody’s business. Yes you have to clean it periodically, as with everything. There is also a fine dirt that city living provides you with, and it certainly did clean that up as well.