You'd think criminals would be out there stealing the new iPad or the hottest video game, but no; the latest target for thieves is Tide laundry detergent. The New York Post reports that a Tide crime wave is sweeping the nation.
"It's the item to steal," said Detective Larry Patterson of the Somerset Police Department in Kentucky.
That's because it is by far the most recognizable and popular laundry detergent in the country. It is also expense, with bottles going for $10-$20, depending on the size. They sell on the street for half that, and it is low risk for the criminals.
"There's no serial numbers and it's impossible to track," Patterson said.
Police say thieves are loading up shopping carts with Tide, then running out of the stores to waiting getaway cars. Cops in Maryland call Tide "liquid gold."
"These are criminals coming into the store to steal thousands of dollars of merchandise," said Prince George's County Detective Harrison Sprague.
Incredibly, Tide is even getting tied-up in the drug trade.
"We sent in an informant to buy drugs," Sprague said. "The dealer said, 'I don't have drugs, but I could sell you 15 bottles of Tide.'"
In Oregon, people are using Tide as drug currency.
"They'll do it right in front of a cop car -- buying heroin or methamphetamine with Tide," said Detective Rick Blake of the Gresham, Oregon Police Department. "We would see people walking down the road with six, seven bottles of Tide. They were so blatant about it."
Stores are experimenting with ways to protect their Tide stock from the criminals.