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Organized retail thieves’ most-wanted list: Survey reveals which items are most likely to be stolen from stores

Tide laundry-detergent bottles with a security-locking system to prevent theft at a CVS Pharmacy, Queens, New York.Tide laundry-detergent bottles have a security-locking system to prevent theft at a CVS Pharmacy in Queens, New York.

Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

  • Organized retail crime has contributed to a $94.5 billion inventory-shrink problem for the retail industry.
  • Companies from Walgreens to Target have been sounding the alarm on growing retail theft for months.
  • Retail criminals steal across many different product categories, per the National Retail Federation.

If you see containers of Tide detergent locked up in your local Walmart or Target, you may have organized retail criminals to blame.

A 2022 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found laundry detergent to be among the most stolen items in organized retail crime, which has contributed to a $94.5 billion inventory shrinkage issue for the retail industry.

These crimes aren’t as simple as a lone shoplifter pocketing a product. Instead, criminal organizations are stealing large quantities of goods and reselling them for profit. 

And organized retail crime is not the $10,000 jewelry heist you see in the movies, Jake Stauch, the director of product for the security company Verkada, previously told Insider.

Rather, he said a group of individuals that “specialize in a certain category,” like thermal coats, steal the goods in thefts or “smash-and-grab” jobs where they break into the retailer, and then resell the goods through new distribution channels like online marketplaces or sell the goods back to local retailers.

Here are the most popular items targeted for organized retail crime as identified by the National Retail Federation, in no particular order.


rtr third outfitDenim clothes are among the most likely items to be targeted in organized retail crime.

Celia Fernandez/Insider

  • Denim
  • Designer apparel
  • Activewear
  • Intimates


Device cordsOrganized retail criminals like to target charging cords, according to the National Retail Federation.

Moyo Studio/Getty Images

  • Appliances
  • Charging cords
  • Smartphones
  • Headphones
  • Vacuums

Health and Beauty

Sephora FragranceFragrances catch the eyes of organized retail criminals.

Alle Connell/Revelist

  • Medication (allergy and pain)
  • Fragrances
  • Blades and razors
  • Cosmetics
  • Body wash


JCPenney watchesOrganized retail criminals may steal watches and resell them at a higher price.

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

  • Designer handbags
  • Fashion and fine jewelry
  • Belts
  • Watches
  • Designer sunglasses
  • Branded eyewear


converse all starsShoe retailers need to be wary of organized retail criminals.

PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

  • Men’s and women’s footwear
  • Athletic shoes and sneakers
  • Designer shoes

Home Furnishings

Bedding on display.Bedding is one of the top targets for organized retail crime.

Danielle Bauter

  • Bedding
  • Home goods
  • Housewares
  • High-end mirrors

Home Improvement

home depot tools power drillsHome Depot and Lowe’s have developed ways to keep power tools from working if stolen.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • Power tools and equipment
  • Outdoor and seasonal tools
  • Wire

Office Supplies

printer inkPrinters, ink cartridges and toner all catch the eyes of organized retail criminals.


  • Ink cartridges
  • Printers
  • Toner

Food and Beverages

Aldi US groceryMeat and other grocery items are also stolen by organized retail criminals.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Candy
  • Alcohol
  • Energy drinks

Children’s Items

Empty infant formula shelvesInfant formula, which has been in short supply, is a target of organized retail crime.

REUTERS/Jessica Dinapoli

  • Infant formula
  • Infant and toddler items
  • Children’s toys


ps4 gift cardGift cards also aren’t safe from organized retail crime.


  • Detergent
  • Tobacco
  • Pet Medication
  • Travel items
  • Physical and electronic gift cards
Read the original article on Business Insider