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Laura Dorr is the executive editor of DPR's Modern Dental Network.
Electric toothbrushes are flying off shelves – but a surprising number are going into the pockets of sticky-fingered customers.
In January, a woman in Linsay, Ontario was arrested after allegedly putting several electric toothbrushes in her purse in a Loblaws Supermarket. Ashley Christine Young, 24, was detained in the parking lot after leaving the store without paying for the brushes, which were valued at $85. She was subsequently charged with theft and possession of stolen property.
Three days after Young’s arrest, several rechargeable electric brushes were stolen from a CVS pharmacy in Reno, Nev. When employees confronted the thief as he left the store with the toothbrushes, the still-unidentified man threatened them with a pocketknife before fleeing the scene (presumably to rush home for a thorough teeth cleaning). Luckily, no one was injured, though the man remains in the wind.
But a woman in Orange, Connecticut really stole the show last month when she departed from a Target store with almost $800 worth of purloined electric toothbrushes. Marietta Hickey, 45, tried to run from officers on the scene, but was apprehended trying to get into a car with $779.74 worth of tooth-cleaning accouterments. For her efforts, Hickey was charged with larceny, conspiracy and interfering with an officer.
Similar thefts also recently took place in Greenfield, Mass., where a man stole over $500 worth of Oral B power toothbrush heads; Newtown, Conn., where a man took $300 in toothbrushes; and Livonia, Mich., where a shoplifting woman was caught leaving a Kohls store with a toothbrush stuffed into her bra.
While one can hope that the thieves are driven by a passion for good oral hygiene, the thefts are more likely motivated by the high value of the pocket-sized brushes: While basic battery-operated toothbrushes range from around $5-30, rechargeable power toothbrushes can cost up to $200.
It has not been confirmed whether or not the apprehended would-be criminals flashed sparkling smiles and/or big toothy grins in their mugshots.