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Tide detergent theft: Loads of dirty money leave a stain on brand identity

tide laundry detergent

Photo by Brandi Korte via Flickr Creative Commons

Tide detergent bandits are cleaning up, as authorities across the country mark a rise in the theft of high-priced laundry soap. 

Police say the signature suds are being sold and traded on the black market for quick cash and drugs.

With a retail price of roughly $10 to $20 a bottle, the street value of Tide can go for $5 to $10, says the iPad-based publication, The Daily, who first reported the new, nationwide trend in liquid currency.

One police detective said of the transactions, "They’ll do it right in front of a cop car -- buying heroin or methamphetamine with Tide...We would see people walking down the road with six, seven bottles."

In California, grocery chains like Ralphs have been on high alert in the area of organized shoplifting and retail crime, notes NBC LA. "These thieves target many different products like Tide, Red Bull, or shampoo," said a Ralphs rep.