Ladies, grab your ponytails.
In the Venezuelan coastal city of Maracaibo, thieves known as “piranhas” are hacking women’s hair right off their heads, and sometimes they have guns.
“You have to see it to believe it,” Maracaibo resident Egmari Villarreal said in a video posted on the Spanish-language Panorama web site. “We’re not going to be able to have long hair anymore. As a woman, this is something traumatic.
Scissor-wielding attackers are lurking in malls, beaches and downtown areas, chopping off ponytails and long hair to sell as extensions to stylists and beauty salons.
“It’s happening downtown, at the beach or at the mall, where you find a lot of young women,” another woman said.
Mariana Rodriguez told Globovision earlier this year was walking in a Venezuelan shopping mall when two women came toward her.
“I thought they were going to steal my cell phone, because I had it in my hand at the time, but they took out scissors,” she said. “They did not give me a chance to think or to run or anything. And when I looked, I no longer had any hair.”
Maracaibo Mayor Eveling de Rosales told reporters that police were stepping up security to stop the attackers.
“As part of our operation of citizen security, we are giving them a forceful response, posting men and women to keep watch and stop this from continuing to happen,” she said.
Depending on its length, clumps of human hair can fetch between $500 and $800 when sold to hair salons.