Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and 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 taker in West St. Paul, Minn., made off with $25,000 in the product over 15 months before he was busted last year.
“That was unique that he stole so much soap,” said West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver. “The name brand is [all] Tide. Amazing, huh?”
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. Enterprising laundry soap peddlers even resell bottles to stores.
“There’s no serial numbers and it’s impossible to track,” said Detective Larry Patterson of the Somerset, Ky., Police Department, where authorities have seen a huge spike in Tide theft. “It’s the item to steal.”