When police near Washington, D.C. raided a drug dealer’s home last fall, they discovered not only a stash of cocaine, but a room full of Tide laundry soap. Customers, it turned out, were paying for drugs with the bright orange detergent bottles instead of cash.
The Associated Press reported that the Tide the drug dealer received was stolen — which has become a common problem for grocery stores and other retailers.
The bulky product with the bright label doesn’t seem like an easy product to steal, but it’s happening.
In Minnesota, a man pleaded guilty to stealing $6,000 worth of Tide. In Maryland, police made two dozen arrests after a Safeway store lost thousands of dollars in Tide every week.
Besides being easy to spot in a snowstorm, Tide is a well-known brand that goes for between $5 and $10 on the black market — compared with its $20 retail price in stores.
Detective Rick Blake of the Gresham, Ore. Police Department told The Daily Mail that criminals “do it right in front of a cop car — buying heroin or methamphetamine with Tide. We would see people walking down the road with six, seven bottles of Tide. They were so blatant about it.”
Tide thieves are known to blatantly steal the merchandise. The drug fiends walk into a store, load up a cart, and walk right out without paying for their soap. A get-away car is often waiting outside.
Because of the shifty crooks, shoppers at many stores are now inconvenienced by locked cases employed to protect detergent from disappearing.
Procter & Gamble, the maker of Tide, was caught completely off-guard by news that their soap has become the favored street currency of some drug dealers.
Company spokeswoman Sarah Pasquinucci told Sault Ste. Marie Evening News, “We don’t have any insight as to why this has apparently happened, but if so it is unfortunate.”