Tide going out for theft suspect

  • Updated: February 13, 2012 - 8:07 PM

So much for a clean getaway.

Patrick Paul Costanzo faces a felony theft charge after police say he stole at least $6,339 worth of Tide laundry detergent and other items from a Wal-Mart in West St. Paul this year.

The store called police for help when an inventory audit revealed an "abnormal loss of Tide detergent" worth about $25,000 over 15 months, according to the charges.

Costanzo is accused of stealing a big chunk of that total just in the one-plus month for which video surveillance records were reviewed. The tapes allegedly show Costanzo, 53, of South St. Paul, at the Wal-Mart on 28 days between Jan. 1 and Feb. 7, picking up detergent and other items and then leaving without paying. He was arrested Feb. 8 after store employees told police he had just pushed another cart loaded with stolen items out the door.

The charges don't explain why Costanzo allegedly took the detergent, but West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver said that there is a black market for laundry soap because it's a relatively expensive necessity.

"They've done the same thing with baby formula for years," Shaver said. "It's an essential. You're going to buy it."

KATIE HUMPHREY

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