Thieves stealing detergent from local stores

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Detergent theft has made its way to grocery stores in the Portland area and that means some stores want to put those suds behind lock and key.

Brand names, like Tide, are where the money's at.

At $5 to $15 a pop, Tide is worth it to organized criminals who can fence cartloads of it on the black market.

It is happening around the country.

In Maryland, grocery store surveillance video shows men, who police believe are part of a crime syndicate, stealing carts full of Tide.

That has stores in several parts of the country securing spendy detergent.

One northeast Portland QFC manager told KATU over the phone their store locks up Tide because it seems to "disappear off the shelves."

Pictures at a Northwest Portland Fred Meyer show signs saying customers need to "see customer service" to purchase Tide.

On KATU's Facebook page Friday, other store workers painted a similar picture.

"I work at Walgreens and we have to lock [the Tide] up," wrote Raquel.

"I work at Safeway and I've stopped a guy twice trying to walk out with a cart full of of Tide," wrote Audra.

"I used to work at Kmart and we had to put gator tags on the handles of the Tide," wrote Cheyanne.

Shoppers told KATU today they can't believe it's come to this.

"I feel like our world is coming to nothing if that's the case and we've got to lock up Tide," said one shopper.

"Doesn't say a lot of good things about where we are as a culture but maybe it's a wake-up call, I guess," said another shopper.

A Portland Police spokesman said he not aware of any wave of Tide thefts from grocery stores, but he said many stores don't report thefts like that.

KATU told a Fred Meyer and QFC spokeswoman about Tide being locked up at two local stores.

This afternoon, the Tide was out of the lock box and back on the shelves at both stores.

The spokeswoman said she would not comment on security policy.