It's a dirty crime that's spreading all over the U.S.. Tide laundry detergent is being stolen!

I'd like to thank a listener for calling my show and asking if I'd heard anything about this. I pleaded the fifth.  Incidentally, I'd like to thank her for the tip and I'm sorry I didn't get her name.

Authorities are noticing an increase in thefts of Tide from stores across the nation, and in some cities, are setting up task forces to track the number of bottles sold in stores.

Police believe the thieves are selling the stolen detergent on the black market in order to buy drugs. On the black market, Tide is referred to as 'liquid gold' and can be sold from $5 to $10 a bottle, which makes no sense to me, as the product retails for between $10 and $20.

Last year, a man in St. Paul, Minnesota allegedly stole $25,000 worth of Tide before he was caught. Some stores like CVS have increased security.  In some stores, Tide is kept in a locked cabinet.  An employee must unlock the cabinet and retrieve it for the customer.

So with all of the available brands, why Tide? Authorities say the bottle is orange and recognizable. It's one of the most expensive brands and it doesn't have serial numbers so it can't be tracked.

People are calling the thefts 'bizarre' and one person on Twitter is blaming it on the economy.  Officials at Tide are calling the thefts unfortunate.