What’s one of the most-stolen items these days? Tide laundry detergent! Why? Because it’s become the new currency on the street, and a lot of drug addicts are stealing bottles of liquid detergent and then trading them for drugs, like heroin and meth. In fact, during a recent drug raid, the police confiscated more Tide than cocaine!

Or drug addicts will steal the detergent and then re-sell it for cash to buy drugs.

Most thieves load carts with dozens of bottles of detergent, then dash out the door. And they often have getaway cars waiting outside. One thief in Minnesota stole $25,000 worth of Tide before he was busted. The fact is thefts have become so common that retailers like CVS are tagging bottles with anti-theft devices, or storing them behind the counter with other frequently-stolen items, like cold medicine. So, why is Tide so tempting? 

• First, it’s the most popular brand, it also has the most recognizable logo. 

• And since there are no serial numbers on the bottles, it’s impossible to track stolen products.

• Another reason why Tide is so tempting: It’s around $15 a bottle. But it can be re-sold for, say, $10 at flea markets. And some enterprising thieves even make money by reselling the bottles to stores.

What’s the fix? Manufacturers are considering using radio frequency identification chips, so stolen bottles can be tracked.

You can help, too. If you see a vendor at a swap meet with 100 bottles of Tide, or 50 boxes of fabric softener, or any other new product, shop elsewhere. It’s probably stolen. And if fewer people buy stolen goods, the thieves will have fewer reasons to steal it.