By Mike Rush
St. Louis (KSDK) - Local stores are taking extra precautions to keep people from stealing merchandise. We're not talking about electronics or other big ticket items, but laundry detergent.
NewsChannel 5 heard about this nationally a few weeks ago, but it's happening in St. Louis and at least one man is facing charges because of it.
Carlos Johnson was arrested and charged after police say he stole laundry detergent from four St. Louis Family Dollars over a ten month period.
There have been 63 reported cases of detergent thefts since the start of last year, most of the time it is Tide brand. Police said thieves sell the detergent on the street for quick cash.
Robert Gibbs said he's been approached twice.
"On several occasions, you know, people get on the bus and they have like a big bag, but it's a plain bag, and you sit down and they'll approach you and ask you, 'Do you want to buy this detergent?'" said Gibbs.
The problem is so bad that a Family Dollar on Gravois Avenue puts electronic tags on the detergent bottles. They also have them on underwear, under-shirts and lighters because they are lifted a lot.
The store manager says someone steals detergent just about every day, so the tags don't seem to be working.
She thinks Family Dollars are targeted because they are small stores with just a few employees and no security guards.