Forget jewelry and cell phones — thieves in Venezuela are after something even more precious to women: their hair.

A new “hair robbery” phenomenon has emerged in the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo.

A group known as “piranhas” is actually stealing women’s luscious locks and even have a preference for straight hair.

According to Globovision, these robbers roam malls hunting for victims whose hair they can cut and sell to beauty salons to be used for extensions.

The methods of the robbers can be rather violent — some victims have been held by gunpoint and forced to tie their hair into a ponytail in order to cut it off.

While many salon owners do not buy hair unless they know where it has come from, many are looking the other way due to the increased demand.

According to hair stylist Jhonatan Morales, interviewed by Globovision, the request for hair extensions has gone up by 30 percent.

To combat the problem, the mayor of Maracaibo, Eveling de Rosales, has said they are adding more security guards at the malls where this is occurring in hopes of preventing this from happening again.

Unfortunately for the women of Maracaibo, until this problem is resolved the recommendation from city officials is that ladies avoid wearing their hair down or in a ponytail.

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