There is a new crime wave of theft sweeping across the nation. But these thieves aren't after your jewels or electronics. They're after your laundry detergent.

Police are trying to wrap their heads around a huge increase in the theft of Tide laundry detergent all over the U.S. The thefts have become so bad, it's prompted some retailers to lock up their Tide as a security measure. But why in the world would someone steal Tide, you ask? Take a look:

Tide has become a form of currency on the streets. The retail price is steadily high — roughly $10 to $20 a bottle — and it’s a staple in households across socioeconomic classes.

Tide can go for $5 to $10 a bottle on the black market, authorities say. Enterprising laundry soap peddlers even resell bottles to stores.

“There’s no serial numbers and it’s impossible to track,” said Detective Larry Patterson of the Somerset, Ky., Police Department, where authorities have seen a huge spike in Tide theft. “It’s the item to steal.”

According to police, the thieves are specifically focusing on the Tide brand of laundry detergent because of its' widely-recognized orange bottle. Police also believe the Tide thefts are connected to the drug trade, where drug users are trading bottles of Tide for various drugs.

Boy, who knew laundry detergent could be such dirty business?