Rising Tide Thefts Leave Colo. Retailers Airing Dirty Laundry

By ABC News

Jan 25, 2013 7:23am
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

ABC News’ Gio Benitez (@GioBenitez) and Hana Karar (@HanaKarar) report:

Retailers in Colorado are cracking down on Tide laundry detergent thefts by locking up the product and hiring undercover security guards to patrol their aisles.

The Colorado Retail Council hopes that such measures will help protect retailers from people who are shoplifting laundry detergent at an alarming rate.

“It’s a very large problem that we have to spend a lot on and, unfortunately, that cost gets passed on to the costumer,” Chris Howes, president of the Colorado Retail Council, said.

Police in Colorado are searching for a man they believe has stolen more than $8,000 worth of Tide laundry detergent in the Ft. Lupton area in Weld County. Police said the male suspect has been caught on surveillance video knocking off six different stores, taking Tide and expensive face lotions.

Tide is one of the most recognized laundry detergents with its bright-orange container. With a retail price from $10 to $20, Tide has become liquid gold on the streets. It can sell on the black market for half the price and it’s impossible to track.

“Tide is highly recognizable, it’s very difficult to trace and it’s easily resold,” said Brad Garrett, ABC News consultant and former FBI special agent.

In March, cameras caught a man stealing more than $6,000 worth of the product during the course of 15 months near Minneapolis.

“Tide is a staple item,” Lt. Brad Pyle of Prince George’s County, Md.,  police told ABC News in March. “Everybody uses it day in, day out. And it’s the most popular brand, so they can move it and get a lot of money for it.”

The National Retail Foundation found last year that 95 percent of companies were victimized by organized retail crime.

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