MISSION VIEJO (CBS) – A dirty trend has hit Orange County – inexplicably large thefts of Tide.
Orange County Sheriff’s officials say 54-year-old Ronald Ledesma was under the influence of methamphetamine when he stole nine large bottles of the laundry detergent at a Vons in Mission Viejo on Feb. 7, the latest in a wave of similar thefts across the country.
The most notable Tide theft happened in West St. Paul, Minn., where police say the thief stole $25,000 worth of the product over 15 months before he was arrested last year.
“Law enforcement is somewhat baffled by these thefts,” Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said. “There’s a couple different theories. Tide detergent is, goes for about $20 a bottle. So one theory is these drug users sell it on the street, swap meet, we’re not sure exactly where they’re selling them, but perhaps for $5 or $10.”
The ubiquitous household staple has apparently become a form of currency on the streets. Bottles of Tide go for $5 to $10 each on the black market and some thieves are even reselling it to stores.
The detergent has apparently become a target partly thanks to its Day-Glo orange logo.