Crime Rings Using Stolen Tide as Currency
Containers of Tide detergent are flying off the shelves in stores across the country. The problem is- they're being stolen!
CNN's Brian Todd reports on the latest "hot" item being targeted by crooks.
You're looking at surveillance footage of a major heist. He's not stealing not cash or jewelry, but detergent.
Patrick Costanzo in St. Paul, Minnesota pleaded guilty to charges that he stole as much as $6,000 dollars worth of detergent and other items, over several visits to Walmart. It's not isolated. This Safeway in Bowie, Maryland was a favorite target. Police tell us, one alleged theft ring stole several thousand dollars worth of Tide detergent in recent months.
Why Tide? At between 8 and 20 dollars a bottle, a full cart like this is worth hundreds. Police say it can be easily re-sold on the black market for less than retail price.
Lt. Bradley Pyle said, "Yes, yes. Drug dealers have finally realized, 'I can take this $10 dollar rock and I can have you go out and try to steal something and get 10 bucks for it, get my 10 dollars from you. Or I can tell you I want five bottles of Tide instead. Now once they go in here and steal those five bottles of Tide, then they can turn around and give' em to me and I take 'em down to the dirty store down the road and I sell 'em for 6 bucks a piece so a $10 dollar rock's now yielded me $30 dollars."
Police in Prince George's county in Maryland say they've arrested 18 people in one ring, for stealing detergent. How could they get away with such bulk?
Safeway Manager Craig Muckle said, "It's very easy to not know what's going on... Because you're engaged in your own activities. if you're here with your children, then you're oftentimes managing your kids."
Now some retailers like CVS are placing security devices on Tide that trigger alarms.
While police here work undercover to take this ring down they say it's sometimes hard to trace the stolen detergent.
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