Thieves cash in on laundry detergent trade

Is it the new liquid gold? Some police officers say it is. (Courtesy Tide)
Detergent thieves can make $2,000 a day

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 5:21 pm

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Is it the new liquid gold? Some police officers say it is.

Believe it or not, the laundry detergent Tide is a hot commodity on the black market.

Sgt. Aubrey Thompson with the Prince George’s County Police Department says Tide is being sold on the black market or even traded for drugs.

“When the thieves come around with Tide, it sells out, people just jump right on it,” he tells WTOP.

The detergent is an easy target.

“It’s a product that everybody uses. There’s no serial numbers, no way you can track it,” says Thompson.

He says thieves can make $5 from the 150-ounce containers. Walmart.com and Target.com were selling the same size bottle for about $18 Tuesday.

Thieves typically target supermarkets and retail stores like Walmart and Target. Thompson says an entire unit of the Prince George’s County Police Department focuses only on these types of thefts.

“That’s all we do, day and night. We work alongside with the retailers and put a stop to it,” he says.

KNBC- TV in Los Angeles reports that the escalating cost of the product is what makes it appealing to thieves.

NBC cites statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows prices for household cleaning products spiked nearly 5 percent in 2009, the highest increase since 2002.

Thompson says the theft of Tide is a problem nationwide.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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