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.”


As co-founder of, a website for curly hair she began with her business partner and friend, Gretchen Heber, Michelle Breyer helped create the leading community and resource for people with curly hair. Frustrated by the lack of information on curly hair and the limited products available in the marketplace, the duo launched the site in 1998 with the help of a 14-year-old web designer. When Procter & Gamble called three years later to advertise to the® audience, Breyer knew they had indeed created a force in the industry, providing helpful information and unparalleled expertise for what was then considered a niche market.

I'm sorry, I agree with the fact that it's mostly black women that purchase extensions. We have been made to have this mentality that straight hair is beautiful, and our natural is not. This is why we go through so much to achieve this hairstyle. I have recently made the transition to wearing my hair naturally and you would not believe the comments I get from other black women, and even men. The jokes, the insults, this is why black women won't wear natural hair. They will continue to wear extensions, and as long as they do, these crimes will continue as well. Do all black women wear extensions? Absolutely not. But ask anyone who lives in a black community how many of the women wear hair that isn't theirs? The stereotype exists because people still embody them. Plain and simple.

@SunnyBeZen Are you serious? I'm a young woman of color and trust and believe I don't wear hair extensions. I wear my real hair. Just because hair extensions aren't always directly marketed to non blacks, you have no right to assume that most black women use it. I'd say that is far from the truth. I've seen non black women buy extensions more than once with my own eyes so please don't assume. If you look around, many beautiful women of ALL cultures are on this site, getting tips on their own hair so please don't down black women because I, and I know others as well who DON'T fit the stereotype but if you keep talking like that, that helps feed stereotypes. No assuming.

Are we this length-obssessed? Are we this insecure about showing our real hair. Really? I think this speaks volumes about women of color. As for men stealing the bags of hair, they wouldn't steal it if there weren't a lot of Black women willing to buy it. You can bet they are not selling the bags to hordes of non-Black females. Other people from other nationalities wear extensions too but lets' be honest, it's mostly Black women. Things have changed in our hair community but there is still work to be done.

I heard on the radio today that they're actually cutting people's hair off. A lady with very long natural hair was waiting at the bus stop near a suspicious man so she held her purse in front of her. Little did she know, he was there to rob her of her hair! (Her religion doesn't allow her to cut her hair.)

I read this article elsewhere and wasn't surprised. A lady I know owns a small beauty supply store and she told me she had to stop letting people bring in large bags because they were robbing her blind. And clerks at several Sally's told me they have to lock their hair up because thieves will wait until they're busy or turn their backs and do a grab and run. I don't understand how hair is worth going to jail. Just go home and grow you some.