Skip to main content

Tide thefts in U.S. surge; steps on how to prevent theft


Shoplifters are usually three steps ahead of retailers in terms of preferred merchandise and how best to steal it, says loss prevention expert Randy Nelson, president of Mississauga, Ont.’s PROAM Civil & Security.

Professionals pose the biggest problem and look for higher-priced items that can be re-sold to convenience stores or vendors at flea markets.

Case in point, recent reports out of the U.S. point to a surge in thefts of Tide detergent.

Tide has become a hot commodity with thieves paying for drugs with the detergent or reselling it, much like baby formula or toilet paper for profit to privately-owned retail stores.

There was one reported case of a man suspected of stealing $25,000 worth of Tide from a Walmart in West St. Paul, Minn., over 15 months.

Other common goods up for grabs in supermarkets include razor blades and disposable diapers to food items and they'll clean out an entire rack or shelf if possible.

Reusable enviro bags are a favorite prop, says Nelson.

Shoplifters can fill them with merchandise  and pose as an honest shopper leaving the store with a week's groceries.

Nelson adds that store managers can reduce theft at little or no cost and suggests the following preventive measures:

-Designate employees to walk the aisles at least hourly and acknowledge the customers.

-Employees should check the supplies of hot items like razor blades and disposable diapers. If most of the stock has been cleared out in the space of a few hours it is more likely due to a shoplifter's visit than a run on the merchandise.

-Employees in smaller stores should acknowledge every person who walks in the door, a simple gesture that can have a chilling effect on the shoplifter. Nelson says that may not be possible in large format grocery and general merchandise outlets where “one-stop shopping can become one-stop shoplifting.”

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds