Andre Celestine, Accused Shoplifter In Wheelchair, Could Face Life In Prison After Stealing Laundry Soap

08/28/2013 03:50 pm ET | Updated Aug 28, 2013

A Chicago man accused of boosting a coveted brand of laundry detergent before brandishing a knife on a store employee could now face life in prison for his alleged crime.

According to prosecutors, 51-year-old Andre Celestine tried swiping a bottle of Tide laundry detergent from a neighborhood drugstore Sunday night and pulled out a knife when a store employee spotted him and ordered him to return the goods.


Andre Celestine, 51, is charged with armed robbery after trying to steal laundry soap. (Cook Co. Sheriff)

DNAinfo Chicago reports store employees say Celestine, who uses a wheelchair, has been in the store every day for the last four months, though they didn't specify if they've had issues with him before.

Celestine, who is being held on $500,000 bond, has served a total of 17 years in state prison for two previous armed robbery convictions and could face a mandatory life sentence if he is convicted for armed robbery again.

Celestine is due in court next on Sept. 9.

Laundry detergent theft made national headlines last year after a spate of robberies from drugstores and supermakerts around the country.

Tide detergent has, for some reason, been the brand of choice, with the New York Times calling it the "must-steal" product of the season earlier this year.

Law enforcement officials believe the detergent is taken from stores and then sold on the black market as part of operations by organized retail crime rings.

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