Sign Of The Times: Tide Detergent Red Hot On The Black Market
When you think of high-dollar stolen items, your mind probably goes to jewelry or electronics. Apparently, not these days. The latest high-ticket item on the Black Market is Tide laundry detergent.
Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it and retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid.
One Tide thief in West St. Paul, Minn., stole $25,000 of the product over 15 months before he was arrested last year.
Sound unlikely? Not to law enforcement officers and store owners.
Tide has become a form of currency on the streets. The retail price is steadily high -- roughly $10 to $20 a bottle -- and it's a staple in households across socioeconomic classes.
Tide can go for $5 to $10 a bottle on the black market, authorities say, and some thieves even resell it to stores.
Tide has also been showing up in police stings.
"We sent in an informant to buy drugs," Sprague said. "The dealer said, 'I don't have drugs, but I could sell you 15 bottles of Tide.'"
Police in Gresham, Ore., said most Tide theft is perpetrated by "users feeding their habit."
"They'll do it right in front of a cop car -- buying heroin or methamphetamine with Tide," said Detective Rick Blake of the Gresham Police Department. "We would see people walking down the road with six, seven bottles of Tide. They were so blatant about it."