Venezuela Hair Robbery Denounced By Nicolas Maduro; President Vows To Crack Down On 'Mafias That Cut Girls' Hair'

Thieves are stealing hair in Venezuela.
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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has spoken out and asked the police to act against the thieves that are stealing women's hairs. The announcement came in light of news that thieves are cutting off women's hairs at gunpoint so that they can sell it to salons for profit, where the hair will be used for extensions and wigs.

The attacks are on a rise, especially in Maracaibo, according to local media reports. In response, Maduro used strong language against the "mafias that cut girls' hair" while speaking at the inauguration of a train station in the capital Caracas. Maduro promised that the thieves would be caught and justice would be served.

While there have been several victims who have been targeted by these thieves -- who have been nicknamed 'piranhas' -- BBC's Irene Caselli reports that authorities in Venezuela have yet to receive a formal complaint. That said, a victim told a local newspaper that she refrained from reporting the crime out of humiliation and the fear of being teased.

It may sound peculiar for the thieves to target women's hair, but the mystery becomes clearer when you take into consideration the demand and price of natural hair. With the demand for hair extensions rising in Venezuela, the price of naturally straight hair is growing rapidly. As such, stealing hair is a more profitable endeavor than stealing cell phones.

What's more, stealing hair is not considered a crime in Venezuelan law. That said, once caught, the thieves can go to jail for threatening women, psychological violence, false imprisonment and any injury while cutting the hair.

Given the recent attacks on women for their hair, the mayor of Maracaibo is asking women to avoid walking with their hair down or in a ponytail. Government officials are encouraging women to wear a hat or helmet and for those looking to buy extensions to ask their salon about the source of the hair.

READ MORE ABOUT THE HAIR THIEVES: Venezuela Hair Robbery: Group Called 'Piranhas' Are Stealing Hair To Sell At Salons As Hair Extensions

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Susmita Baral

Susmita Baral joined Latin Times in April 2013. Her work has been published in VICE, Weight Watchers Magazine, Unique Homes Magazine, US Airways Magazine, Vista Magazine, Daily Glow and Kaplan. She holds a B.A. Psychology from Rutgers University. A self-proclaimed foodie, Susmita is a freelance list maker, part-time Shaq devotee, and a full-time eyeliner junkie who believes mac and cheese is a birthright.