Man Accused of Stealing Cartloads of Tide Detergent Worth Thousands

Heavy-duty cleaning agent was snatched almost daily for a month

By Natalie Musumeci
|  Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012  |  Updated 1:40 PM PDT
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Man Accused of Stealing Cartloads of Tide Detergent Worth Thousands

Wyeth Ruthven

Anti-theft devices attached to bottles of Tide in the CVS in northwest D.C. A Minnesota man has been accused of stealing cartloads of Tide at a local Wal-Mart.

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This could be the cleanest bandit yet.

The Police Department in West St. Paul, Minnesota has arrested a man for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars worth of Tide laundry detergent and other items from a local Wal-Mart, the Star Tribune reported.

Store managers reportedly called the police after coming to the daunting conclusion that up to $25,000 worth of the popular heavy-duty cleaning agent was missing from the inventory audit over the past 15 months.

Store surveillance videos allegedly captured the suspect, identified as 53-year-old Patrick Paul Costanzo, pushing out cart-loads of at least $6,339 worth of Tide detergent that he had not paid for over the course of 28 days, four to five days a week, between Jan. 1 and Feb. 7. He was arrested on Feb. 8.

Costanzo has not been charged with stealing the remaining $18,661 worth of detergent believed missing.

It’s unclear why Costanzo allegedly snatched such an enormous amount of cleaner.

West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver told the Star Tribune there is a black market for laundry soap since it is a relatively costly necessity.

A 50 fl oz. bottle of liquid Tide detergent at WalMart.com is priced at $7.54, meaning $25,000 could get you more than 3,000 bottles.

“They’ve done the same thing with baby formula for years,” Shaver told the Star Tribune. “It’s an essential. You’re going to buy it.”
 

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