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article imageHair thieves strike US salons

By Lynn Curwin     Jun 3, 2011 in Crime
Some thieves aren't even checking for cash when they break into hair salons, they're heading straight for the hair extensions.
The most valuable hair is remy hair, which- because it has its outermost cuticle layer intact - looks more natural and does not tangle as much. Customers pay hundreds, to thousands, of dollars to purchase the extensions and have them attached.
About $150,000 worth of hair was stolen from My Trendy Place, in Houston, Texas recently.
“I heard about it from a couple of different supply companies and customers who said: ‘Guard your inventory. There’s a rash of this going on,’ ” Lisa Amosu, owner of the salon, told the New York Times. “Whoever did it knew exactly what they wanted. They didn’t even bother with the synthetic hair.”
Two years ago thieves went after cash at Chicago's Beauty One hair supply store, but in April they used a crowbar and sledgehammer to pry open dead bolts so that they could take boxes of hair valued at $90,000.
“They’re selling it to stylists who work out of their house, they’re selling it on the street, they’re selling it out of the car,” Amosu told the New York Times. “People who don’t want to pay the prices will buy it from the hustle man. It’s like the bootleg DVDs and the fake purses. But this is a quality product.”
Earlier this year, a 60-year-old man was killed when thieves robbed the Sunrise Beauty Supply shop in Michigan. About 80 hair extensions were stolen.
CCTV cameras didn't deter thieves from striking Hair Divas Distributors, in San Leandro, California. After the robbery shop owner Anne Davis had additional cameras, plus a Bull Horn alarm that sets off flashing lights and a siren, installed.
Business Security Information reports that some salong are now hiring security officers and/or requiring customers to present identification before being allowed into areas where hair extensions are kept.
Neal Lester of Arizona State University, who has bestudied the race and gender politics of hair, said wearing extensions is a long established tradition in the African American community. It has increased in popularity during the past few years.
"There has always been a demand for it," the BBC quoted him as saying. "But now some 'entrepreneurs' out there are recognising it's a way to make an easy buck pretty quickly, without much of a possibility of being caught, once you get out.
"Hair doesn't have stamps that identify where it comes from, it's not like money that can be traced."
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