Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Laundry Detergent Thieves Target "Liquid Gold"

Every now and then, crooks hit on a particular modus operandi that, for what ever reason, just works. Once word gets around among the criminal underground there will be a rash of similar thefts that drive property crimes detectives nuts.

There was a great piece at New York Magazine recently that looked at an odd but very interesting crime trend: thieves stealing Tide laundry detergent.
As the cases piled up after his team’s first Tide-theft bust, Thompson sought an answer to the riddle at the center of the crimes: What did thieves want with so much laundry soap? To find out, he and his unit pored over security recordings to identify prolific perpetrators, whom officers then tracked down and detained for questioning. “We never promised to go easy on them, but they were willing to talk about it,” Thompson says. “I guess they were bragging.” It turned out the detergent wasn’t ­being used as an ingredient in some new recipe for getting high, but instead to buy drugs themselves. Tide bottles have become ad hoc street currency, with a 150-ounce bottle going for either $5 cash or $10 worth of weed or crack cocaine. On certain corners, the detergent has earned a new nickname: “Liquid gold.” The Tide people would never sanction that tag line, of course. But this unlikely black market would not have formed if they weren’t so good at pushing their product.
The piece is a great read that goes into the reasons why a crime trend like this takes off. Crimes like these are often better understood by using the acronym CRAVED. You can find out more about CRAVED here.

What are the CRAVED or hot items in your jurisdiction?

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