People have died in the quest to get highly sought-after hair extensions.

wig theft

It's no secret that many women rely on hair extensions for longer, thicker hair. But it appears that a growing number of people are willing to break the law to get them.

According to "The New York Times," theft of real hair extensions and wigs is on the rise. Some robberies have ended in death, while others have perplexed cops completely: it seems thieves would rather walk out with hair than cash.

An article in the "Times" reports that, “during the past two months alone, robbers in quest of human hair have killed a beauty shop supplier in Michigan and carried out heists nationwide in which they have made off with tens of thousands of dollars of hair at a time.”

Once stolen, the real hair extensions are typically sold on the street or on the Internet, including eBay, according to shop owners and police. In recent weeks, packages of hair that may have sold for $80 or $100 retail have sold for as little as $25 out of car trunks in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Houston. Hair can be sold at the same types of beauty salons and supply shops that are being burglarized.

The most expensive hair type—and the one in highest demand by thieves and paying customers alike—is remy hair, which unlike most other varieties, is sold with its outermost cuticle layer intact, according to the "New York Times" article. This allows it to look more natural and to last longer without tangling. Remy hair from Indian women is the most popular. (Remy hair extensions can cost as much as $200 per package, and the average person requires at least two packages.)

“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 Lisa Amosu, a Houston salon owner 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.”