BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It’s being called “Liquid Gold” on the streets and criminals are looking to cash in.

Mary Bubala reports on this unusual criminal trend.

Containers of Tide detergent are flying off store shelves across the country. The problem is, some of it’s being stolen.

Surveillance video of a major heist shows Patrick Costanzo in St. Paul, Minn. He pleaded guilty to stealing as much as $6,000 worth of detergent from Wal-Mart.

Why Tide? At between $8-$20 a bottle, a full cart is worth hundreds. Police say it can be easily resold on the black market for less than retail price. And in some cases, they are selling this stuff directly for drugs.

“Drug dealers have finally realized, ‘I can take this $10 rock and I can have you go out and try to steal something and get 10 bucks for it, get my $10 from you,” Lt. Bradley Pyle of the Prince George’s County Police Department said. “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 them to me and I take them down to the dirty store down the road and I sell them for 6 bucks a piece. So a $10 rock’s now yielded me $30.”

Tide thefts are a nationwide problem, including here in Maryland, where police in Prince George’s County have broken up at least one theft ring.

The Safeway in Bowie was a favorite target of thieves who stole several thousand dollars worth of Tide detergent in recent months.

Prince George’s County police say they arrested 18 people in one ring for stealing detergent. Most shoppers aren’t even aware.

“You’re engaged in your own activities. If you’re here with your children, then you’re oftentimes managing your kids,” said Craig Muckle of Safeway, Inc.

Now, some retailers like CVS are placing security devices on Tide that trigger alarms.

Police say thieves also often sell the detergent to small mom and pop stores. With no serial numbers, it’s virtually impossible to trace.

Police say thieves are stealing Red Bull and shampoo as well.

Comments (26)
  1. Fear the future says:

    This nation’s underclass just show no limits to their constant scheming and hustling. They stand in line and fight for Nike shoes and now they have found value in laundry detergent. of course there’s the newly popular punching holes in gas tanks of cars and trucks for the other yellow gold that is gasoline. The american divide in race, class and social class is now wider than the Grand Canyon. However, I feel this divide is largely a difference in I.Q. which is more genetic than anything else with little that can be done about it as long as the underclass continues to devalue education with its anti-intellectual thug culture. Please bring on the easy concealed carry laws because America’s underclass are becoming more and more uncivilized and lawless.

    1. 1uniquemonique says:

      Why are you talking about yourself? You’re showing your underclass I.Q. Sentences begin with a capital letter, as well as, the name of a country.

      1. tylerjake says:

        Monique, you’re an idiot!

      2. Billiam says:

        I agree with tylerjake, 1uniquemonique – don’t avoid what “fear the future” is saying – and by the way, “fear the future” did not mention any type of race; he or she is only referring to the “underclass” in this nation who, unless we do something about it, will bring this nation to its knees with the attitude of “what’s in it for me, where’s my entitlement, etc.” Don’t avoid what’s obvious – if you’re more worried about the commenter’s sentence not starting with a capital letter, then you’re just part of the problem.

      3. ballsohardclub says:

        Monique, suc a dead donkey dic U coon.

    2. BitterB says:

      So you’re saying we should now start shooting shoplifters? Want-a-be elitist like you have been saying “what’s in it for me” for years. I’m happy not to be in your class.

  2. USSR of Maryland says:

    Only a real idiot pauses to only reflect on grammatical and punctuation errors on an informal message board that was typed on an iPad while in a hurry. Who really cares about theses errors other than a low class member of the low I.Q. class to which I was referring.

    1. Ben says:

      Like or not USSR you are judged by your grammer.

      1. tylerjake says:

        LMAO, Ben ironic you’re talking about grammar when you can’t even spell. Go back to OWEMALLY’s office now, he’s calling you!

      2. BitterB says:

        @ Tylerjeke: owemally did you think that one up all by yourself?

  3. USSR of Maryland says:

    Oh, excuse me. It should have read, “To whom I was referring.” You!

  4. MakeYourOwnWay says:

    Maybe if the profit margin was a little more realistic this wouldn’t be such an issue.

  5. Ernie says:


    Like or not USSR you are judged by your grammer.”


  6. anonymous says:

    i use to work in rite aid im happy i dont anymore. Pretty soon the whole damn store would be needing security stickers. Thats a lot of stickers to put on stuff before they go on shelves and a lot of ppl beeping from forgetting to rub the sticker to deactivate. Just treat the store like fast food. Go to a counter ask for what you want and the clerks can bring it to you. that way only employees will have to worry about each other. Now they gotta chase ppl with tide jugs. Its hard enough with pill bottles

  7. fed up says:

    and who are the usual list of suspects?? I mean come on now if the store staff and they are probably the thieves, see anyone with a cartload of tide going out the door, that is kind of suspicious to me and target has security at the door so looks like an inside job

  8. Educate Yourself says:

    The conversation started about Tide and ended up on a racial note. REAL BRILLIANT? Channel your energy into getting an education.

  9. Proud of your children says:

    Ballsohardclub, you are the coon’s father. Most parents are so proud of their children that they talk about them all the time. Happy Father’s Day.

    1. ballsohardclub says:

      Yeah, Baby momma sends her brood of kids into the street to steal all the Tide they can git’s. With ten kids before age thirty & with about five years left to live given their lifestyles, she be needing more & mo needles in the toes to sell that Tide for drugs.

  10. hooty-hoot says:

    Tide is, on average, $8 more than EVERY OTHER brand. They brought it on themselves.

    By the way, there are typos and there are grammatical/spelling errors. If you can’t tell the difference, then you are not qualified to correct other commenters. It makes you sound obtuse.

    1. ballsohardclub says:

      You mean like yourself, …Obese eh?….Fat fuc.

  11. Lawdy Lawdy says:

    Something else for Porch Monkeys to steal!!

  12. anonymose says:

    wow and we are apparently grown adults a simple article about theft of tide turned racial and nasty and now has nothing to do with the article. they said nothing about what race did it. In my store all kinds of ppl have been caught stealing. From a white granny to 7 year old girls, to old and hairy bums, to very rich looking dudes. YOu cant tell whos gonna be a theif until they do it some dont give any signs they could be one. Its not always the clerks. trust me ive fought along side my managers to get more help in stopping the ones we run out the doors after. They dont do anything but slap them on the wrists and they come back a year later. Its not just one kind of person that steals there are lots of ppl out there stealing and im sure everyone here has done stealing atleast once in their life whether its from a store or your brothers piggy bank. it doesnt have to turn nasty and immature on here ppl

  13. BuffBoi says:

    *You people* (yes, I said “you people”) will steal anything, won’t you? Have you no class and manners? Have you no upbringing? You steal anything and everything, nome sain’?

    Thugs, all of you, I say. And worshipped and idolized by unknowing teenage white boys. Disgusting!!!!!

  14. Howard Gottlieb says:

    I saw a story about this on the national news the other night and wondered if the publicity was good for Tide. Why in the world would that particular brand be the target of thieves when there are so many competing products?

    Howard Gottlieb

  15. The Grump says:

    If I can pause this ongoing racial love-fest for a moment…

    I just want to know – how could anyone can fill a shopping cart with Tide, and get it out the door without store Security seeing it ? You can’t hide Tide under your clothes – the “pregnant” look doesn’t work for guys. And more than 5 big $10.00 bottles of Tide are HEAVY. Don’t believe me – try it. I buy Tide in bulk during sales – up to 10 bottles if the price is good, so I know it’s heavy.

    My 2 cents – it’s an inside job. Someone at Wal-Mart is being paid to look the other way when that cart goes out the door.

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