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Tide detergent under lock and key

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Updated: 6/07/2012 9:29 am Published: 6/06/2012 9:33 pm

Two million dollars in sales taxes are stolen from Tulsa taxpayers each year.

Serial shoplifters are hitting stories across Green Country and traveling to Oklahoma City, Arkansas, Texas and Kansas to steal or sell their items. 

Officers from the Arlington Texas Police Department are in Tulsa to learn how TPD’s Organized Retail Crime Unit busts organized shoplifters.

The Tulsa Police Department ORC Unit reports up to 80 retail gangs are working in Tulsa.

"We have a number of groups that we have identified in Tulsa. Probably 60 to 80 groups,” said ORC Unit Detective Lori Visser.

The groups travel to Oklahoma City and across state lines to Dallas, Arkansas and Kansas.

This week the National Retail Federation reports Organized Retail Crime is the highest it has ever been in the country. Nine in ten retailers are reporting they have been a victim of crime in the last year.

One of the targeted items is Tide laundry detergent.

At Walgreens at 15th and S. Lewis on aisle 5 the Tide laundry detergent is under lock and key.

"They are going to lock up Tide for real?" Said shopper Myia Cole.

This is not an urban legend.

“I would avoid anything locked up because it would take more time to get it out,” said shopper Nina Sage.

Thieves are soiling the name and swiping it from shelves. Surveillance video has caught thieves pushing cartloads of the orange bottle worth thousands of dollars in one swoop.

“I am totally baffled by it, this is the first I have heard of it,” said Sage.

FOX23 News checked other Walgreens and drug stores in Tulsa and saw Tide on the shelves.

Kmart had theft protection devices on the larger Tide gallons of Tide.

Investigators with the Tulsa Police Organized Retail Crime Unit report these serial shoplifters also known as boosters are selling it at flea markets, pawn shops and online classified ads.

They are also taking orders from mom and pop shops and families who can’t afford the higher prices and fencing Tide and other stolen items.

The National Retail Federation Reports this year targeted items are jeans, Kitchen Aide mixers, educational toys and games, GPS units and laundry detergent. They also report thieves are targeting high-end vacuums.

Tulsa police meet with local retailers each month to share information but they often talk throughout the month on suspects and trends.

"We are not talking about someone coming in and taking two CD's. We are talking about people who in the larger sense are making a living off this,” said Jamie Bourne, Target.

Boosters are making at least $1,000 to $2,000 or more a day.

"People should never take anything. I know I can buy everything I need,” said shopper Clyde Jackson.

Walgreens and Tide (Proctor & Gamble) did not return calls made by FOX23 News. 

Oklahoma does not have an organized retail crime statute. However, caught stealing anything over $500 it’s a felony.

NRF reports violence among organized retail gangs increased 15% when apprehending the suspects.

Tulsa Police recently arrested Rhonda Burkett of Hot Springs, Arkansas, for passing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent checks at local retailers.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

rhondaburkett - 12/6/2012 11:14 AM
0 Votes
I am Rhonda Burkett, and this is absolutely UNTRUE. I was arrested for writing a bad check, I admit it. But it had Nothing To Do with Tide detergent! I am paying my price, but it was Not as much as they say in this article, and again, nothing to do with any detergents, or organized crime at all. It was me, myself and I. Sorry folks, everything you read on the internet is not true. Hard times created the need to steal, but I admitted it all when I got caught, and am paying the price.

aleman - 6/9/2012 11:16 AM
0 Votes
The one on Admiral is the one I was talking about.It's bad enough in the daytime but at night ...oooh!I'm a big guy but I was nervous you never know bunch of them jump on me and make a Mannwich out of me.Scary.

watchdog11 - 6/8/2012 10:29 PM
0 Votes
I don't use Tide, I can't tell it is one bit better than any other cheaper brand. I used to see stealing everytime I went to Walmart, I'm sure it still happens, I just don't shop there any more, all I buy there now is diapers for my grandbaby, but only because they come in large packs, as soon as I find another place to get the big packgages or my grandbaby is potty trained I won't spend one red cent there, it is like going into a dirty back alley with drug addicts, hookers and pimps, a fight would break out every time I went to the Admiral one, food from the refrigerated boxes sitting on shelves, food opened and eaten from, lids opened and part eaten out then set back on the shelves, spoiled rotten meat, to be fair I also see a lot of this at several other chain stores too. people are just trying to out scum each other now. I don't have any doubt there are theft gangs, maybe not that many though, hundreds seems a little hard to believe, if Tide didn't over price their stuff it would'nt be a target for theft, I would feel like a fool paying that kind of price for something that is going to go down the drain, I'll just keep my cheap soap, my laundry is sparkling clean and smells great and I don't pay a fortune to wash it.

aleman - 6/7/2012 4:50 PM
0 Votes
I made the mistake of going into the wal-mart at one in the morning on an emergency run for a family member.It was like "The Night of the Living Dead" zombies everywhere I won't be do that anymore,are these freaks snorting Tide now?

mustangdriver - 6/7/2012 4:39 PM
0 Votes
One reason why I do NOT live in Tulsa. Why would anyone in their right mind want to live next to a bunch of Tide stealing theives? :)

bowlerdave - 6/7/2012 7:59 AM
0 Votes
I just think it is hilarious that the Admiral and Memorial Wal Mart locks up certain items. But, if you go to the Wal Mart by ORU, those items are sitting free on the shelf.

billw001 - 6/7/2012 7:49 AM
0 Votes
No one in their right mind would chance their freedom for detergent..... A bunch of dumbazzes

kindagreywolf - 6/7/2012 7:22 AM
1 Vote
Stores should get stolen from to see how it feels. Being disabled with a disability check, they jack up food prices at the beginning of the month, bleed people dry then drop prices again.

roadhunter - 6/7/2012 7:04 AM
0 Votes
Absolute nonsense. Tulsa is not home to 60-80 groups of shoplifters who use this as a home base and travel to surrounding cities. That simply isn't true.
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