The black market for hair extensions is thriving, leading to a rash of thefts in major cities including Philadelphia and Chicago, according to CNN Money.
Earlier this week, a thief broke into a Chicago salon and stole 10 packs of Remy hair extensions, valued at $100 apiece. Remy extensions are particularly popular since they are made from real human hair.
Thefts are a major cost of business to salons that specialize in these sought-after hair extensions. Last year, $230,000 worth of hair extensions were stolen from one Chicago-area salon alone.
The New York Times reported in 2011 that thefts costing between $10,000 and $150,000 had hit salons in Texas, California and Michigan.
In one incident thieves even battered through a wall and dodged motion detectors to get to the precious hair. Recovering stolen extensions is particularly difficult, since the hair is not traceable — as opposed to electronics that feature serial numbers.
“People who have the audacity and the ingenuity to do this will be able to sell them,” Neal Lester, a professor specializing in hair told CNN Money. “It’s no different from selling DVDs, where they are sold out of the back of your trunk.”