WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

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A Bullish Black Market For...Laundry Detergent?

Authorities in Prince George's County, Md., and across the country, are dealing with an unusual, if not entirely new, problem: thefts of Tide detergent are spiking because the product's black market value is rising. We consider the factors, from sentencing laws to brand loyalty, that are driving the phenomenon.

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Sgt. Aubrey Thompson of the Prince George's County Police Department says local thieves have been selling Tide laundry detergent on the black market. Thompson described an undercover sting last year at a Vietnamese nail salon in which officers discovered large quantities of Tide being shipped overseas. The salon was also dilluting near-empty bottles of detergent with water in order to double profits. "It's high reward. You're going to sell out that Tide as soon as you leave the store," Thompson said.

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