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Tuesday
Mar132012

Tide Theft Tied to Drug Trade?

Procter & Gamble(NEW YORK) -- It’s being called a “grime wave,” a rash of thefts targeting Tide laundry detergent.

Near Minneapolis, cameras caught 53-year-old Patrick Costanzo stealing more than $25,000 worth of the product over the course of 15 months.

“It’s like he put the pieces in there like Tetris pieces. He maximized that cart, there’s no wasted space,” said investigator Sean Melville of the West St. Paul police.

Costanzo would load up his cart and push right past workers. He’d also take paper towels, soda and toilet paper.

“There’s no way he can be using,” said Melville. “I hope for his own sake he’s not using that much toilet paper every day.”

Authorities finally put an end to the sudsy spree, but with a retail price from $10 to $20 this household laundry staple has become a kind of currency of the streets. It can sell on the black market for half the price and with no serial number it’s impossible to track.

“Tide is highly recognizable, it’s very difficult to trace and it’s easily resold,” said Brad Garrett, former FBI special agent.

According to law enforcement officials, the Procter & Gamble clothes cleaner has become part of the dirty drug trade. A recent drug sting in Maryland turned up more Tide than cocaine.

“It may be more financially viable for the drug dealer to exchange Tide for drugs and then resell the Tide,” Garrett told ABC News.

CVS stores have even put tide on lock down, saying drug users have targeted Tide much like flu medications.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio