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Prince George's County Police Bust Laundry Detergent Theft Ring

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) -- A bizarre theft ring is broken up by police in Maryland. Tide laundry detergent was stolen and sold on the black market. Thieves have been cleaning out stores across the country.

Kai Jackson has more on the arrests.

Across the country, thieves are targeting laundry detergent and other store items. But in Prince George's County, it was no clean getaway. The thieves were caught.

Laundry detergent is a key product in a major theft ring in Prince George's County.

Police seized $125,000 worth of merchandise at a barber shop. Among the items confiscated was Tide detergent.

"There are some stores that will no longer sell the product because it gets stolen just that often," said Julie Parker, director of Media Relations for the Prince George's County Police Department.

In some cities, the detergent has become like liquid gold on the streets.

Over the years, the containers of suds have gotten bigger and more expensive. Police say the money made from selling it on the street is often used for drugs or simply to make a buck.

"If they're stealing it to sell, they must be trading the profit for drugs," East Baltimore resident Gloss Moore said.

Detergent may be popular among thieves right now but residents WJZ spoke with say anything of value could be a target during tough economic times.

"If there's a market for it, they're gonna take it and they're gonna try and sell it," John Manna, a resident of East Baltimore, said.

Some stores are considering putting sensors on laundry detergent and other store items to protect more of their merchandise.

Police say stolen detergent is so hard to trace because the bottles don't carry serial numbers.

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