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Tide laundry detergent stolen off shelves across US

March 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Tide laundry detergent is apparently the latest hot commodity on the black market. Police say thieves all across the country are swiping the bottles right off store shelves.

Orange County sheriff's officials arrested 53-year-old Ronald Ledesma for stealing $150 worth of Tide from a Vons in Mission Viejo on Feb. 7. He is facing several burglary charges. Authorities say he was under the influence of meth at the time.

It's unclear what Ledesma was planning to do with the detergent, but it appears stealing Tide and either re-selling or trading it for drugs is a growing problem across the country.

Police arrested 53-year-old Patrick Costanzo in Minnesota recently for allegedly stealing over $25,000 worth of Tide over 15 months. Authorities believe Costanzo, who is unemployed, was trying to sell the detergent to small businesses at a discounted price.

"On the street he'd get money for it," said one woman who remained anonymous. "Because a lot of people use Tide and it's expensive- especially in this town."

"It's like he put the pieces in like Tetris pieces to maximize the volume of that cart, there was no wasted space," said Shawn Melville from the Saint Paul Police Department.

Each box goes for about $10 to $20. Authorities say that some of the bottles are being resold to make a profit, and some are even being traded for drugs. In response, CVS stores have begun to install security devices on all of their Tide products in certain cities across the nation.