We can think of a lot of hair crimes over the decades: mullets, bowl cuts, and so on. But in recent years, it seems like the number of actual crimes linked to hair (specifically hair extensions) is on the rise.

Take Venezuela for example. Recent reports claim that groups of “piranhas” stalk long-haired women in malls, beaches, and downtown areas. The perpetrators grab victims by the hair, cut it off with scissors, and make off with it to sell to wig and extension makers. Similar attacks have also been reported in Colombia and South Africa.

There’s a big black market for hair in eastern Europe and Asia, where many women fall victim to harsh financial pressures as well as actual hair-stealing criminals. According to David Elman of the New York Times, “People who have temporary financial difficulties in depressed regions often sell their hair.” In some instances, women are forced to sell their hair by their own husbands—sometimes for as little as $10.

And not all of the dirty dealing happens in developing countries. Hair-extension theft is rampant in the United States. There it’s common for criminals to break into businesses not to steal money, not jewelry, but hair. Sometimes $150,000 worth of hair!

Which makes us wonder: With so many real hair crimes occurring, what’s safe and what isn’t? If we took a hard look at the source of our extensions, would we still want to be wearing them? We know those of us at Reds who wear extensions will be investigating…