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Tide laundry detergent hits the black market

Thieves today have moved on from pulling copper pipes at construction sites to sell as scrap metal.  The latest crime wave sweeping the country involves a kind of "liquid gold" you can find in your laundry room: Tide.

Apparently the sudsy commodity can go for $5-$10 a bottle on the black market and some soap peddlers even resell stolen bottles to stores.  Theft of the detergent has reportedly become so rampant in cities across the country that police authorities in New York and Oregon are actively keeping tabs on the soapy crime circuit, including special Tide task forces. One Minnesota bandit reportedly made off with $25,000 worth of Tide in just 15 months before being busted last year.

The Daily reports:

Why Tide and not, say, Wisk or All? Police say it’s simply because the Procter & Gamble detergent is the most popular and, with its Day-Glo orange logo, most recognizable of brands.

George Cohen, spokesman for Philadelphia-based Checkpoint Systems, which produces alarms being tested on Tide in CVS stores, said: “Name brands are easier to resell.

“In organized retail crimes they would love to steal the iPad. It’s very easy to sell. Harder to sell the unknown Korean brand."

Most thieves load carts with dozens of bottles, then dash out the door. Many have getaway cars waiting outside.

“These are criminals coming into the store to steal thousands of dollars of merchandise,” said Detective Harrison Sprague of the Prince George’s County, Md., Police Department, where Tide is known as “liquid gold” among officers.

He and other law enforcement officials across the country say Tide theft is connected to the drug trade. In fact, a recent drug sting turned up more Tide that cocaine.

“We sent in an informant to buy drugs. The dealer said, ‘I don’t have drugs, but I could sell you 15 bottles of Tide,’ ” Sprague told The Daily. “Upstairs in the drug dealer’s bedroom was about 14 bottles of Tide laundry soap. We think [users] are trading it for drugs.”

h/t Consumerist

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