Human hair extensions theft plagues salons across the nation. Photo: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images

Human hair extensions -- the secret behind many celebrities' long, luxurious locks -- have now become a hot commodity for thieves.

The New York Times
reports that hair salons and beauty supply stores across the country have been plagued with hair theft, often resulting in violence and even a death. Armed with crowbars, sledgehammers, pepper spray and swiftness, burglars are going to extremes for these pricey strands that can cost up to $200 per package.

Lisa Amosu, owner of My Trendy Place salon in Houston, was tipped off by various supply companies and customers, but was robbed of hair extensions worth $150,000 last month.

"Whoever did it knew exactly what they wanted. They didn't even bother with the synthetic hair," Amosu tells the Times.

According to the Times, the recent hair heists include thieves stealing $10,000 in hair from a San Diego shop; $85,000 from a business in Missouri City, Texas; $10,000 from a beauty supply store that left the owner dead; and $60,000 from a San Leandro, California business.

Burglars are reselling their goods on the Internet and to hairstylists who work from home. While the hair is sold for a fraction of the price, thieves can make up for the difference, especially if they've gotten their hands on remy hair -- the most expensive and coveted type, which comes from Indian women.

"It's sort of a sign of the times," Neal Lester, an English professor at Arizona State University, told the New York Times. "Folks are being entrepreneurial, and weaves and hair extensions are expensive, so it's not surprising that people sell hair the way they sell things on Canal Street, like knock-off purses."

Do you know anyone who has experienced human hair extensions theft? Leave a comment below.