An Oak Lawn police officer was flagged down by a Jewel employee in the area of Pulaski and 95th Street.
The employee told the officer that a man had stolen Tidepods by putting them in his backpack and leaving the store without paying for the items. The employee also told the officer that the alleged thief had crossed 95th Street heading south and was boarding a CTA bus that was at the intersection.
The officer pulled up behind the bus and activated his emergency lights. The officer then contacted the bus driver, who told the officer that a man had entered the bus with a backpack. He had allegedly walked past the driver without paying for the transportation.
The officer entered the bus and reported finding a man with a backpack slightly opened. In the backpack the officer saw a Tide container and another plastic bag with additional items including shampoo and another tide container. The man told the officer that the bags and backpack were not his but the bus driver told the officer that the man entered with both bags.
The man was removed from the bus and was asked his name. He provided the name of Joseph Madison, perhaps believing that James Madison or Dolly Madison would not be believable.
“Madison” was not his actual name and the dispatcher was able to advise the officer that the man’s name was Dorian Gordan, who was wanted on three warrants. After Gordan, a 42 year old black male, was allegedly positively identified, he was arrested for retail theft of the items that were valued t $109.36. Gordan, who provided a Chicago address, was also charged with obstructing identification for allegedly providing a fake name.
One of the warrants was from Homewood police department, which picked Gordan up from the Oak Lawn police station after he was given an I-bond.
There were at least thirty-nine reports of US teenagers intentionally misusing laundry pods in the first 15 days of 2018 alone, according to data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
The Tide Pod Challenge became a hit about five years ago with teenagers challenging each other to eat the Tide Pod. The outside wrapping of a Tide Pod is made of polyvinylalcohol (PVA), a water-soluble plastic compound. For the same reason that this packet dissolves in the machine washing laundry, it can also dissolve in a person’s mouth, leading to the immediate release and absorption of the contents.
Thefts of Tide detergent in all forms is not new. The New Yorker Magazine wrote a detailed story about the popularity of Tide with thieves asking, What did thieves want with so much laundry soap?
Prince George County, Virginia, police actually pored over security recordings to identify prolific Tide Detergent thieves, whom officers then tracked down and detained for questioning. After interviewing the thieves, the police determined that the detergent wasn’t being used as an ingredient in some new recipe for getting high, but instead to buy drugs themselves. Tide bottles have become ad hoc street currency, with a 150-ounce bottle going for either $5 cash or $10 worth of weed or crack cocaine. According to the New Yorker’s story, the detergent has earned a new nickname: “Liquid gold.”