Businesses Try to Protect Tide Detergent from Thieves

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You could call them "dirty" thieves.

They are targeting Tide, taking the laundry detergent right off store shelves, and that has some retailers looking for ways to prevent losses.

Surveillance video from a Walmart in St. Paul, Minnesota and in Prince George's County, Maryland caught thieves making off with thousands of dollars worth of Tide detergent.

Joseph LaRocca, senior adviser of asset protection with the National Retail Federation, said Tide has not been one of the top targeted items, but retailers said it is an item that they have been losing.

He said the brand name makes it highly desirable to thieves, just like it is to customers.

"We know that certain products are highly desirable and easily resold in the secondary market.  Criminal groups will steal large quantities of merchandise from stores and then resell that merchandise for a profit," LaRocca said.

Large bottles of Tide can sell on the Black Market for $10 to $15.

LaRocca said Tide is even resold illegally by the cap-full.

"We've heard stories from people who actually sell smaller quantities in laundromats to people who forget their detergent.  They buy a single use right there," he added.

LaRocca said some retailers may take measures to keep Tide from rolling away, while still making it accessible to paying customers.

"Retailers might position them in a more visible place in the store.  Some might limit the quantity available on the sales floor," he said.

Other retailers may go so far as to put anti-theft devices on bottles of Tide.

And if these organized crime groups continue to target Tide, LaRocca said some stores will go as far as locking up the detergent, just like some over-the-counter drugs, batteries and razor blades are now.