Tide Detergent Crime Wave Puzzles Law Enforcement Officials (VIDEO)

GRIME WAVE: Tide Detergent Is Cleaning Up On The Black Market

Thieves in America may be cleaning up by stealing Tide detergent off the shelves of grocery stores and markets.

News reports suggest that the thefts have become so rampant that some cities are hoping to turn the tide by setting up special task forces to stop it. In St. Paul, Minn., one suds-stealing shoplifter stole $25,000 of the product over 15 months before he was arrested last year.

"That was unique that he stole so much soap," West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver told Fox News. "The name brand is [all] Tide. Amazing, huh?"

The method of Tide-stealing involved one crook loading up a cart with a bunch of bottles and running for the exit to a waiting getaway car, Newser reported.

Why Tide? Well, the retail price is steadily high -- between $10 to $20 a bottle -- so thieves can get $5 to $10 a bottle on the black market or even by reselling to stores, according to The Daily

"There's no serial numbers and it's impossible to track," Detective Larry Patterson of the Somerset, Ky., Police Department, where authorities have seen a huge spike in Tide theft, told The Daily. "It's the item to steal."

George Cohen, spokesman for Philadelphia-based Checkpoint Systems, which produces alarms being tested on Tide in CVS stores, said the reason why Tide is the most popular detergent with thieves is because it's the most popular brand with consumers.

"Name brands are easier to resell," Cohen told The Daily. "In organized retail crimes they would love to steal the iPad. It’s very easy to sell. Harder to sell the unknown Korean brand."

Although Harrison Sprague, a detective with police department in Prince George’s County, Md., calls Tide "liquid gold," and told The Daily that thousands of dollars' worth of it are being stolen, CVS Pharmacy official Mike DeAngelis told Fox News that stories about the rising tide of Tide thefts are overblown.

"We are not experiencing a 'wave' of Tide thefts," DeAngelis wrote in an email to Fox News. "In a few markets, we've placed security devices on Tide bottles that will trigger an alarm if a shoplifter tries to remove it from the store without paying," DeAngelis said. "However, theft of Tide is not a new issue in the retail industry."

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