NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "I call Da Hair Connect like Mc Donald's. It's because we are popular," says Charles Bell.
People who go to Da Hair Connect are specifically looking for one thing: human hair. It's sold in bundles, and women can spend more than $1,000 each time they decide to use them.
"People like to switch different styles. You might want to wear long hair one week and a bob the next week. They like to change it up," says Bell.
Charles Bell wasn't at all surprised to hear about a recent burglary at this New Orleans East beauty store. Police say the burglars skipped the cash register and went straight for the bundles of human hair. Investigators say the thieves knocked out a cinder block wall in the back of the building to get in and out.
They stole $30,000 dollars worth of hair - 125 packs of bundles.
"You know, they have a black market wherever they have a need for it. They do have a black market for it," says Bell.
According to CNN Money, the black market for hair extensions is thriving and leading to a rash of thefts in major cities, including Philadelphia and Chicago. CNN reports that $230,000 worth of hair extensions was stolen from one Chicago-area salon alone.
"You'll notice you don't see hair hanging in the store. We keep all of our hair concealed," says Bell.
Bell knows how great the demand for hair can be. It's the reason he's gone to such great lengths to protect his business from potential thieves. Customers have to knock to come inside, and security cameras capture video of all angles of the store.
"We have a lot of security. We have a panic button and everything," says Bell.
Bell isn't taking any chances, because he knows human hair is big business.
The burglary in New Orleans East is still under investigation.