Local News

Nationwide detergent thefts make suds in Raleigh

Posted March 13, 2012 9:16 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2012 8:35 p.m. EDT

— Thieves across the country have left store shelves clean of thousands of dollars worth of Tide brand liquid detergent, bringing attention to a rise in black market sales of the pricey laundry soap – the theft of which has led to two arrests in Raleigh.

Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said that, in the last year, eight cases of stolen Tide have been reported, including two in January of this year. The total reported loss from the thefts was just a little more than $400, but the uptick in detergent shoplifting in other parts of the country has forced stores to stick anti-theft devices on the trademark orange bottles.

"Raleigh hasn't been immune (to the Tide thefts)," Sughrue said. "It doesn't seem as though we have experienced the large patterns other jurisdictions may have had."

A CVS drugstore on Fayetteville Street downtown was hit more than once by a man stealing Tide, he said. Other larcenies were reported throughout the city – at grocery stores, drug stores and Target.

Charita Nicole Andrews, 27, was arrested last March at a Target store on Brier Creek Parkway after a security guard allegedly caught her stealing Tide, Sughrue said. In October, police linked Reginald Lee Anderson, 49, to all three thefts at the downtown CVS and charged him with larceny.

Pending warrants could bring an arrest in a fifth case, Sughrue said, but he declined to provide details.

For a variety of reasons, the detergent in the familiar flame-orange bottle is well-suited for resale on the black market: Everybody needs laundry detergent, and Tide is the nation's most popular brand. It's expensive, selling for up to $20 for a large bottle at stores, and it doesn't spoil.

National reports have linked the thefts to the drug trade.