Not-so-clean getaway for woman accused of shoplifting, drug charges

tide_bottlePolice arrested a Bainbridge woman after finding 18 containers of Tide laundry detergent in her car that she was accused of shoplifting.

Just before 10 p.m., on Monday, Oct. 19 Bainbridge Public Safety received a report of a shoplifting in progress at the Dollar General store on N. West Street in Bainbridge.

Upon arriving at the store, a Dollar General employee waved down BPS Captain Terry Pait and pointed out a white pickup truck leaving the store’s parking lot with the suspect driving. Captain Pait used his patrol car’s lights and sirens to pull the pickup truck over. Pait talked with the driver, identified as Diane Denise Burke, 39, of Bainbridge.

In the front passenger seat floorboard of Burke’s truck were 18 containers of laundry detergent, with a total value of $122.19. BPS officers checked with the Dollar General and it was determined the laundry detergent had been taken from the store.

A marijuana grinder
A marijuana grinder

Why steal that much Tide? Various media articles, by New York Magazine and others, have quoted law enforcement beliefs that bottles of the laundry detergent are stolen to use as a form of currency. Tide, so the theory goes, is easily resold to consumers (or other stores), its serial numbers are impossible to track, and that Tide is the most recognizable and popular of detergent brands. Someone with extra Tide on their hands could trade it for a cash value or other items. (See Also Snopes: “Tide of Theft?”)

BPS officers Sgt. Ray Cox and PSO Tim Mixon arrived at the Dollar General to assist Pait. While there, Sgt. Cox smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside Burke’s pickup truck. PSO Mixon searched the vehicle and inside the glove compartment, where the smell was coming from, the officer found a marijuana “grinder” with a substantial amount of a green leafy substance inside.

Diane Burke was arrested and charged by Bainbridge Public Safety with theft by shoplifting, possession of marijuana (less than an ounce) and possession of drug-related objects.

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