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Laundry Detergent Crime Wave Hits Stores Hard

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Retailers are seeing an unusual crime spree: Thieves are swiping bottles of laundry detergent, and one drug store chain has put bottles of Tide on “lock down.”

At $10-$20 a container, laundry detergent is both a necessity and expensive. It now has become a hot item on the black market.

The drug store chain, CVS, has reportedly “locked down” Tide detergent, similar to what stores do for certain over-the-counter medications and other high-theft items.

Thieves are taking advantage, swiping the detergent and selling it for $5 or $10 a bottle. In Maryland, police suspect that dealers may be accepting stolen Tide as payment for drugs and then selling the detergent.

A 53-year-old South St. Paul man was charged with theft, after police say he stole $6,000 worth of detergent from a retailer, CBS station WCCO reported last month.

Patrick Paul Costanzo was spotted on surveillance video pushing carts full of detergent out of a store without paying for it.

Authorities say thieves target Tide because it is so popular.

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