Hair worth its weight in gold as weave thieves strike again

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(ATLANTA) Hair extension thieves have struck again, this time burglars smashed their way into a business on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

The thieves, thought to be looking for high-dollar Remy hair extensions, broke into Lexi’s Beauty Supply by shattering the window with a brick, according to Atlanta police.

In a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the store’s owner Travis Tipton said the burglars got away with just $60 dollars of merchandise.

“They stole our cash register and an assortment of fake hair,” Tipton told the AJC.

Tipton, who opened the store just three weeks ago, said: “They were probably looking for the Remy hair, which was right there. They overlooked it and walked right back out.”

The break-in is part of a recent trend of hair extension theft in Atlanta, with a spate of robberies at beauty supply stores since early summer. In recent months, at least seven beauty stores have been robbed.

Last month, thieves stole hair worth more than $100,000 from the Beauty Master store on Mt. Zion Road in Morrow.

In August, weave thieves raided at least three metro beauty supply stores over just 10 days.

On June 17, burglars raided the Beauty Master store on Headline Drive, making off with nearly $30,000 dollars of weave.

Just a few weeks earlier, masked intruders broke into a beauty supply store in a shopping center in College Park, stealing $10,000 worth of hair.

In May, the New York Times reported human hair packages of the most expensive brands cost $200 and stolen hair is sold on the streets for as little as $25, with hair ending up on the Internet, including eBay.

This growing trend of hair extension theft sometimes accompanied by violence is being reported in other cities, including San Diego, Missouri City, Texas and Dearborn, Mich.
According to the Times article hair extension thieves stole $150,000 worth of extensions from a Houston salon, $90,000 of extensions from a hair supply store in Chicago and $60,000 from a beauty shop in San Leandro, California.

Earlier this year robbers even killed a beauty shop supplier in Michigan, sending a clear message they will go to any length in the quest for human hair.

The threat of theft has forced salons and beauty shop suppliers to hire security guards and install bulletproof glass partitions.

In an effort to secure their business one hair supplier in Los Angeles has even moved their shop to a vault.

African-American women’s hair has been a long-standing topic of discussion for some time, with critics attacking the multi-billion dollar industry which they say cultivates a desire for black women to have relaxed or straight hair extensions.

In 2009, funnyman Chris Rock produced a documentary (Good Hair) that explored the extreme lengths African-American women go to obtain the “good hair” look, even at the expense of getting bills paid.

Prices of hair extensions have risen significantly and as the quality of hair increases, consumers are willing to dig deep to get the desirable look. High dollar Remy hair from India usually comes from women who are willing to have their heads shaved to sacrifice their beauty as an offering to God.

Indian hair is highly sought-after in the hair industry because of its flexibility, durability and texture. The hair is naturally thick and shiny, so works well with most braiding and weaving styles for African-American women.

Remy hair extensions cost as much as $200 per package and the average person needs at least two packages. Hundreds, and at times thousands, is then spent in salons getting intricately woven to the scalp for the “most natural” look.