The City of Tulsa loses millions of dollars each year because of retail thefts and right now the hot item is Tide detergent. It's so bad some stores are taking extra steps to keep it safe. The Walgreens at 15th and Lewis is where we found the locked up tide. Managers told us that all Tulsa stores have the locks and customers are surprised it's comes to this.
"First, it's allergy medicine and now it's Tide. I just don't even understand," says shopper, Miranda Sutter.
The Tulsa Police Department has an Organized Retail Crime Unit and they aren't surprised the detergent is locked up because it's the new street cash. The unit is tracking at least 50 groups that are hitting the Tulsa retailers and the bad news is, it's hurting the whole city.
"When we talk about 30, 40, or 50 groups that steal a couple of thousand dollars a day. It ends up the City of Tulsa losing over two million dollars a year in sales tax revenue because of this," says Investigator with the Organized Retail Crime Unit, Lori Visser.
Visser says these thieves make about one to two thousand dollars a day on stolen merchandise. Even with that amount lost, some retailers don't see the need to lock up the Tide.
"Anytime you have to lock something up wether it be razors, Tide, tobacco in the past, that consumer at the end of the day is the one that suffers because they are going to have to wait to get that product," says Reasor's Store Director, Jeff Burns.
The customers we talked with feel that way. Having to wait on someone to come help you will hurt the business.
"It would deter me. If I bought Tide," says Sutter.
Visser says several of the local retailers have been hit several times and since they have a unit devoted to finding the thieves they are starting to see the rewards. One of those rewards is other police departments taking notice. The Tulsa unit is one of the first in the nation and cities like Arlington, Texas are coming here to see how these units work. But more importantly the people Tulsa Police officers are arresting are noticing things are changing.
"We are hearing from different suspects that we arrest on the street. They know what we are doing and so word has kind of gotten around on the street," says Visser.
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