Theft of Tide laundry detergent increasing nationwide

Organized retail crime schemes are nothing new. Those accused of shoplifting are often caught with common items that have some value on the black market, items like over-the-counter painkillers, baby formula and razors.

Now police nationwide are grappling with this trend: Liquid Tide laundry detergent is being stolen at increasing rates. For example, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported 103 thefts of the detergent in the city, which is home to Tide’s manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble. Similar thefts have taken place in stores from coast to coast.

Why Tide and why now?

Nobody knows for sure, but the spike likely has nothing to do with laundry.

According to the National Retail Federation, Tide is not a common target of shoplifters. Far more commonly targeted are smaller items like electric toothbrushes and razor blades, the federation says, which makes sense, as even the smallest bottle of liquid Tide would be hard to conceal under a coat.

But if Tide theft keeps increasing, observers who track the trends in retail theft might have to start asking why and digging deeper.

Some estimates blame shoplifting for $15 to $30 billion lost by companies every year, which translates to serious consequences if you face shoplifting charges.

In Maryland, those facing shoplifting charges involving less than $100 in merchandise could find themselves facing a misdemeanor, which will go on the criminal record if convicted. Go above that $100 amount, however, and penalties could be more severe, including significant jail time.