Maracaibo, Venezuela — Is it a sign of the economy or just crime of opportunity? Women in Venezuela are having their stolen, right from their heads, CNN 's Rafael Romo has the story.
Letting your hair down in the Venezuelan coastal city of Maracaibo can make you a target for criminals.
Egmari Villarreal, Maracaibo Resident, "You have to see it to believe it. We're not going to be able to have long hair anymore. As a woman, this is something traumatic."
Authorities have recently noticed an increase in the number of attacks against women, The common denominator, all of the victims had long hair.
Sarai Madrid, "It's happening downtown, at the beach or the mall, where you find a lot of young women. The thieves grab them by the hair, pull out some scissors, and cut it. They then sell it at beauty or hair salons."
In Venezuela, they call these thieves piranhas, yes, piranhas just like the meat-eating fish found in South American rivers. It's a crime of opportunity. Just like piranhas, the thieves are fast, ferocious and seem to have very little compassion for their unsuspecting, long-haired victims.
It's also happening in neighboring Colombia, Arlen Luna was victimized last year, she says that by the time she realized what had happened to her, the thieves had already fled and a chunk of her braid was missing.
She lost 8 inches of hair, from the robber's perspective, it's quick and relatively easy money.
This hair stylist says synthetic hair costs anywhere from $40 to $160, depending on its quality, but natural hair can cost well over $500, all the more to guard your tresses.