Thieves shoplifting Tide, selling on black market - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Thieves shoplifting Tide, selling on black market

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CHANDLER, Ariz. -

It's a nationwide epidemic. Thieves stealing laundry detergent to sell it on the black market and use as drug currency. The situation is so bad at one valley store, they are taking drastic measures.

Individual alarms for Tide detergent -- even locking it up behind the customer service counter.

Tide thefts are spiking across the country. Here in the valley it's happening more and more. Management at one local store says it happens there sometimes several times a day.

"Tide is a hot commodity to me because I have a ton of laundry," laughs Tori Sepiol.

Tide detergent is flying off the shelves at stores across the valley. But it's not customers clearing out the product -- its thieves. Organized retail theft rings loading carts with tide and then selling the detergent on the black market for pure profit.

This Fry's store on 40th and Chandler is fighting back. They're keeping one of the highest priced Tide products -- Tide Pods -- behind the counter.

"It obviously impacts sales, we have to raise prices possibly to take care of that shrink portion," says manager Chris Adams.

Things have gotten so bad at this particular Fry's, management have put security devices on these larger more expensive Tide jugs, and they don't fill the shelves all the way, making it harder for thieves to get away with Tide products.

"Shoplifters will go in and steal those items, sell them to fencing operation and then sell them for $8 or $10 for $20 bottle and that fencing operation will sell for $15," says Chandler Police Sgt. Joe Favazzo.

Chandler Police undercover detectives have busted three large retail theft rings in the last few months alone.

"For every one of these large organized theft rings we break up, put them in jail and take them off the streets, there's a whole other group ready to take in where these people have left off."

A burden for local law enforcement -- and a costly loss passed on to the consumer.

"I'm not going to enjoy having to go to the counter to have to get Tide pods but I just still do it," says Sepiol.

Chandler police says the thefts are happening in Walmart's and Safeway's as well. Thieves are also stealing other pricey items from grocery stores including cosmetics and diapers. Police are asking the public to keep a lookout for people loading up on those items.

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