Cape Town - To the long list of crimes committed in South Africa, we can now add theft of hair as a new crime trend in Cape Town.
Not content with just stealing cellphones, criminals recently made off with R17 000 worth of fake hair.
Provincial police spokesperson sergeant Leon Fortuin confirmed the sought-after follicles were stolen during a robbery at a store on the Foreshore, where cellphones were also stolen.
Just how certain types of hair have become the loot of choice for criminals, was borne out by hair salons which said they were regularly offered hair to buy.
Shana Nsiangngo, a manager at the Jabula Hair Salon in the Golden Acre, said that weaves and dreadlocks had become very popular in Cape Town.
"Every day we have people coming into our salons offering to sell dreadlocks, because they know that people will be buying them. The ones who sell the dreadlocks, which may have belonged to them (or not), know that there are a lot of women who want weaves and dreadlocks but cannot afford the expensive ones. But our salons are frequently full. To have the weave stitched to your hair and styled costs R300.
"Then we have Brazilian, Peruvian, Indian and Malaysian weaves for which the prices start from R1 800. But the Brazilian weaves are the most popular ones and the women are paying for the hair. The Brazilian weave will last you about two years. The hair industry has become very big in Cape Town because every woman wants to look beautiful," she said.
Ntando Ngwalolmane, the manager at Indoni in Cape Town, said their dreadlocks salon had been very popular since 2010.
"Our place is always busy, and dreadlocks have become the new thing in Cape Town. Yes, we also have people coming here every day wanting to sell deadlocks. They know that our customers want them, that is why they are bringing them here.
"The dreadlocks are especially popular in winter, because in winter a lot of women don’t want to style their own hair. They prefer coming to us, so that we can put the dreadlocks in for them," she said.
There have also been reports of criminals targeting people with dreadlocks and cutting them straight from their heads.