HUFFINGTON POST
06/07/2013 10:00 am ET Updated Jun 07, 2013

Hair Extension Black Market Causing Rash Of Thefts

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The black market for hair extensions is thriving, leading to a rash of thefts in major cities including Philadelphia and Chicago, CNN Money reports.

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, according to CNNMoney.

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."

Indeed, for an idea of the demand for hair extensions look no further than our own HuffPost blogger Erikka Yancy, who said she spent $25,000 on hair extensions during her twenties.

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