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Tide Detergent Is Apparently a Hot Commodity Among Drug Addicts Looking for Quick Cash

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Law enforcement sources say drug addicts and other thieves are turning to an unexpected source for quick money: the laundry aisle of grocery and drug stores.

It's already happening in Southern California: just last month a man a man in Mission Viejo, apparently high on meth, was caught on tape piling 9 bottles of liquid Tide detergent in his grocery cart and rolling out without paying, according to the Los Angeles Times. But the alleged suspect Ronald Ledesma, 54, did not make a, uh, clean getaway. Instead he is accused of crashing into an off-duty ambulance and then trying to flee the scene. He is facing charges for the theft and trying to flee the scene of a crash.

Similar stories of Tide thefts are popping up around other parts of the country. The Wall Street Journal compiled a list of notable Tide thefts around the nation and added this piece of analysis: "Everybody needs laundry detergent, and Tide is the nation's most popular brand. It's expensive, selling for up to $20 for a large bottle at stores. And it doesn't spoil."

Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino tells the Times he's baffled by the trend but jokes that stores—some of which are already putting security tags on the trademark orange bottles—might need to lock up the detergent alongside alcohol.