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Dirty business: Soap is target for thieves

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Owenton police say suspects convert detergent into quick cash

By Molly Haines

Owenton Police Narcotics Investigator Steve Miller said a widespread trend could be coming to Owen County after two people recently walked out of a local grocery store with over a dozen bottles of Tide laundry detergent.
Miller said the incident took place at approximately 3:30 p.m., Feb. 5, at Meadowview Shopwise.
“They bypassed the checkout and pushed the cart right out of the store,” Miller said.
The two suspects, Christopher Holt of Cincinnati, Ohio and Jenna Smith of Owenton, allegedly stole 18 bottles of Tide.
The laundry detergent sells for $15.99 per bottle.
“It’s just quick cash,” Miller said.
The incident was caught on the store’s security cameras, but Miller said the bottles of Tide have not been recovered.
But the theft of Tide detergent is nothing new in many areas across the United States.
According to a 2012 Time Magazine report, the detergent is a kind of currency on the black market and goes for about half of its sell price on the streets.
Thieves have reportedly resold stolen bottles to stores and according to the report, the detergent has supposedly even showed up in the homes of busted drug dealers.
According to some reports, the detergent can be traded for drugs like marijuana and cocaine.  
A Business Insider article from 2013 said some stores were losing $10,000 to $15,000 a month from people shoplifting Tide from their shelves.
A detective from Somerset told the website that there’s no serial numbers and the detergent is impossible to track.
Miller said there is a warrant out for Holt’s arrest and that Smith has been charged with theft by unlawful taking and shoplifting.
“Some people will do just about anything to make some cash,” Miller said.