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Police Note Increase in Detergent Theft

Police Note Increase in Detergent Theft

Police across the country are reporting an unusual crime wave: increasing thefts of Tide detergent. Some departments are even setting up specialized task forces to try to control the thefts.

The reason for the increase in thefts? As anyone who has shopped for household supplies lately knows, laundry detergent is expensive. Just like illegal drugs, a lucrative black market exists for stolen Tide and the thieves are able to resell it for profit.

From "Police take on rising wave of Tide detergent theft" March 12, 2012

So what would the law be in South Carolina for stealing Tide? Three possible charges would be:

Shoplifting: A South Carolina Shoplifting charge would be appropriate when someone attempts to steal detergent by either concealing it in the store, or (and more likely) having it in a buggy and attempting to wheel it out of the store withoput paying.

Breath of Trust: A breach of trust charge would apply when a store employee either assists another in by-passing the checkout procedure (such as a cashier bagging an item without scanning). Cigarettes and beer are other popular items stolen at the checkout line. Another strategy would be for a store employee to open up the backdoor and attempt to remove entire cases of merchandise.

Larceny: South Carolina's basic theft charge is called Larceny. Shoplifting and breach of trust are just variations of this criminal offense. A larceny charge may result from stealing detergent off of a loading dock, from the back of an open truck or taking an unattended bottle at the laundrymat.


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