Thefts of Tide puzzle police

Though it seems an unlikely target for thieves, a particular brand of laundry detergent is being stolen across the country.

By Giselle Smith Mar 12, 2012 4:47PM

It's a crime wave made for creative reporting, or at least bad puns: Police attempt to stem rising Tide of thefts. Thieves clean up with stolen laundry detergent. Scum steal laundry soap.


In a story headlined "Grime Wave," The Daily reports that thieves from Oregon to Maryland are stealing large quantities of Tide laundry detergent by loading it into shopping carts and pushing it out of the stores, often to waiting getaway cars.  Here's a TV news report from late last year about Tide thefts in Maryland. (Post continues below)

Harrison Sprague, a detective in Prince George's County, Md., and other police across the country have linked the Tide thefts to drug sales, according to The Daily. Sprague said, "We think (users) are trading it for drugs." 


In Gresham, Ore., "They'll do it right in front of a cop car -- buying heroin or methamphetamine with Tide," detective Rick Blake told The Daily.


Others say stolen Tide is sold on the black market. "They've done the same thing with baby formula for years," West St. Paul, Minn., police Chief Bud Shaver told the Star Tribune. "It's an essential. You're going to buy it." The Star Tribune reported recently that a Wal-Mart in West St. Paul had lost an estimated $25,000 worth of Tide over the span of 15 months. 


Why Tide?

Laundry detergent is something all households need, and the price of Tide -- $10 to $20 per bottle retail -- translates to $5 to $10 on the black market, which makes it a stable currency, according to The Daily. Also, detergent is not perishable, and -- unlike electronic items -- carries no identifying information.


Police say the Procter & Gamble detergent is the most popular and most recognizable of the name-brand laundry soaps, partly because of its bright orange packaging.


"We don't have any insight as to why the phenomenon is happening, but it is certainly unfortunate," a Procter & Gamble spokeswoman told The Daily.


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Mar 13, 2012 5:36AM
So the street value of a small bottle of Tide is 5 bucks.....isn't that money
Mar 13, 2012 2:17AM
You know why Tide is being stolen?  Have you seen the price lately for a container of Tide?
Mar 13, 2012 11:20AM

So how long before they start keeping Tide behind the counter at the pharmacy and I have to start giving my name, address, phone number, social security number, driver's license, birth certificate, etc., etc., etc., just to buy it?  Or will it be available by prescription only?

Mar 12, 2012 5:58PM
Capital punishment is a well-known detergent to crime.
Mar 12, 2012 6:23PM
looks like the criminals are making a clean get away
Mar 13, 2012 2:16PM
Tide - the preferred detergent for money launderers.
Mar 13, 2012 1:10PM

these are the blackest looking rednecks I've ever seen



Mar 13, 2012 3:24PM

can posters on this thread hit the spam button in the lower right corner whenever they come across those inappropriate dating sites and money making sites.  they continue to come up on posts everyday.  Also check the posters name and picture as that is another way they get their annoying ads through.  Maybe this way they will get the message that robo-posting their company will not be tolerated. 



Mar 13, 2012 11:40AM
I can't believe people actually pay the price for TIDE.... way over priced..many other soaps out there just as good and a lot cheaper
Mar 13, 2012 4:04PM
Boy is it ever getting weird in this country....
Mar 13, 2012 12:37PM
Steal the Tide. Sell the Tide. Launder the cash and make a clean get away.  Very versatile product.
Mar 13, 2012 12:05AM
I was visiting a friend that had arrived in Florida from California that I had not seen in nearly 10 years.  While I was in her hotel room, she got a very strange delivery, a bottle of Tide via fed ex.  Turns out it was half a bottle of tide, the rest was bags of pot.  She claimed that the tide makes the pot undetectable by drug sniffing dogs.  Have no idea if its true or not, but she got the delivery.  I left.
I'm just sick and Tide of these stupid stories.
Mar 13, 2012 1:54PM
Perhaps they are going to use it to clean up Washington
Mar 13, 2012 2:09PM
You know, I was wondering why our local supermarket was putting those electronic wires around the big tide detergent.  At the checkout the cashier removes the electronic band. Well, as Paul Harvey used to say "now you know the rest of the story".
Mar 12, 2012 8:58PM
A bullet to the head would fix this.
Mar 13, 2012 12:37PM

This is just the beginning. Other premium name brands that are easy to steal will follow as the copy cats get busy once the black market is flooded with detergent.

As prices continue to rise, you will see more of this kind of behaviour.

Mar 13, 2012 12:43AM
i kind of find it hard to believe people are trading it for drugs. how many loads of clothes do you think the average drug dealer does? drug dealers want money, not tide. if they are trading tide it must be something they're using to make some kind of new drug, not washing clothes. 
Mar 12, 2012 6:58PM
Looks like the Tide has TURNED on these idiots.  Lock em away for a long time; these douchebags aren't exactly helping to keep the price of goods down in this country!!
Mar 13, 2012 7:34AM
this story really gets me agitated ;)
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