Thieves Target Human Hair

Everyone's laughing, but an expert says this is about simple supply and demand.

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Chris Rock, are you out there? It's time to make an amended version of Good Hair, including this story: From Chicago to Los Angeles, robberies of human hair used for weaves and extensions are on the rise.

The most expensive type, Indian women's hair known as "remy," can get thieves a profit of up to $200 a packages when they resell it. And Chicago Police detective Vito Ferro told the New York Times that hair thefts in the city looked like the work of people sophisticated enough to have taken custom orders.

Earlier this month, My Trendy Place salon in Houston had $150,000 worth of hair stock stolen. In March, armed robbers took more than 80 packages of hair and killed a Michigan store owner. A shop in Texas had $85,000 worth stolen, one in California had $60,000 taken and a San Diego salon lost $10,000.

Styles that rely on purchased hair (synthetic or human) -- as popular and increasingly mainstream as they may be -- still strike many as tacky or bizarre, making this criminal trend the butt of endless jokes since the story broke. But Neal Lester, an English professor at Arizona State University who has written on the race and gender politics of hair, says it's not all that outrageous. He looks at it practically: The growing demand for human hair extensions and the high prices had made thefts inevitable.

"It's sort of a sign of the times,” Dr. Lester said told the New York Times. "Folks are being entrepreneurial, and weaves and hair extensions are expensive, so it's not surprising that people sell hair the way they sell things on Canal Street, like knock-off purses."

Read more at the New York Times and the Daily Mail.

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