In recent months, there’s been a rise in burglaries at hair salons catering to African American clientele. But thieves aren’t stealing money or expensive equipment — they’re taking hair extensions, specifically silky, expensive human hair that clients pay top dollar for. At the My Trendy Place salon in Houston, Texas, thieves made off with more than $150,000 worth of the stuff. Another $10,000 in hair was stolen from a San Diego shop, $85,000 from a business in Missouri City, Texas, and $60,000 from a salon in San Leandro, California. In most cases, the thieves overlooked the cheap synthetic hair the salons carried and went straight for the real stuff.
Called remy hair, it’s valued because it’s sold with its outermost cuticle layer intact, giving the hair a more natural look and feel. “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, the owner of My Trendy Place, told The New York Times. “Whoever did it knew exactly what they wanted.”
The illegal weave market has, at times, resorted to violence, too. In March, the owner of Sunrise Beauty Supply of Dearborn, Michigan, was killed when gunmen tried stealing human hair extensions from his store.
Once stolen, thieves will often try and sell their newly acquired hair out of the backs of cars, often at an extremely cut-rate cost. Hair that might go for $200 in a salon, was reportedly being sold out of the trunks of cars for as little as $25 — much of it to women who make their living doing hair out of their houses. “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,” said Amosu of My Trendy Place. “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.” [NY Times]