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Prince George's County police are investigating the widespread, and in some cases organized theft of a popular laundry detergent, Tide.
Investigators say the thieves are walking into stores, loading the readily accessible bottles of Tide detergent, sometimes as many as 20 in a haul, into their shopping carts and then running out the store to a getaway car.
The hot laundry detergent is then resold by the criminals at flea markets, nail salons, or sometimes traded for drugs. Sgt. Aubry Thompson who heads a special retail theft unit investigating the crime, says the detergent has earned the street name "Liquid Gold" because its high retail cost makes it a valuable commodity on the black market.
Thompson says one man arrested last month at a Bowie supermarket had a car full of the laundry detergent and $96,000 in the bank. Some stores are being forced to charge even more for the product because of the state tax lost with the stolen goods.
Police say thieves choose to steal Tide over other detergents simply because of its popularity.
Have you ever popped open a bag of potato chips only to be disappointed by the number of crisps in your bag? It's not just you. To avoid raising prices, companies often increase their "nonfunctional slack fill" or the difference between the volume of product and its container. We talk about how food packaging affects your recipe and wallet.