Take any pricey product with a profitable resell value, that is also difficult to track once stolen, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for theft, says Sgt. Frank Quinn of the major offenders division with the Houston police department. “These thefts are just like anything else; the trends are constantly changing depending on what’s hot and in demand at the time,” says Quinn. “Hair extensions are an expensive product,
and there are plenty of people who are willing to pay good money for them right now on the underground market. It makes them an easy target.”
Oftentimes selling for as much as $250 to $300 a pack—with at least two packs needed on average to complete a weave—Remy hair extensions give crooks the opportunity to make a high-profit margin—and quick. Once stolen, Quinn says it isn’t uncommon to see thieves take the hair to the streets—selling the commodity out of the backs of vans; peddling their stolen goods to underhanded stylists; or even marketing the merchandise via fake websites or eBay.com accounts. In the last year alone, Houston’s major offenders division worked nearly 30 to 35 of these types of cases, with reason to believe that organized crime rings were behind many of the offenses, says Quinn. The FBI’s property crimes unit, which handles these kinds of thefts, refused to comment on the issue.
Lisa Amosu, owner of the My Trendy Place salon in Houston, may be considered one of the unluckiest victims of this kind of theft to date. In May 2011, the suspect who burglarized her business pulled iron bars off of the windows, then outsmarted motion detectors by slithering across the floor to the back storeroom with three large duffel bags attached to his body. By the time the culprit was finished, she says he made off with more than $150,000 in human-hair extensions, wigs and hairpieces. “These hair thieves are not stupid by a long shot,” says Amosu. “Human-hair extensions are a hot commodity, and let’s face it, the hair business is basically recession proof. “There are many women out there who will forego paying an important bill just so they can purchase high quality hair.”
[Image: Courtesy of Anne Davis, owner of Hair Divas Distributors]