Thieves' Fave New Target: Human Hair

In recent rash of salon robberies, cash registers ignored
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2011 11:29 AM CDT
Hair dressers split a hair extension with a razor blade before applying it to the model, background, backstage during Fashion Week in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(Newser) – Across the country, beauty salons are hiring security guards and installing bulletproof glass, all to protect something even more valuable than the cash they have on hand: human hair. A rash of robberies—including one in which a beauty supply store owner was killed—has hit salons over the past few months. One salon, in Houston, lost $150,000 worth of hair used for increasingly popular hair extensions; the thieves ignored the safe and cash register. “Whoever did it knew exactly what they wanted,” one salon owner tells the New York Times. “They didn’t even bother with the synthetic hair.”

Human hair that would normally sell for anywhere from $80 to $200 goes for as little as $25 out of car trunks or on the Internet. One salon owner says street sellers will hawk it to stylists who work from home; another says they’ll even enter her shop and try to sell it to customers. A detective investigating one robbery says it almost seems like the robbers are taking custom orders: “It’s like someone says, ‘I’m looking for a 1992 Cadillac Eldorado,’ and so you go out looking for that car.” The growing trend is being blamed on the growing popularity, and price, of hair extensions. (Click to read about Russia’s human hair trade.)

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