The theft of dreadlocks in Johannesburg is thought to be because of the rising demand for natural dreadlocks as extensions.
Erin Conway-Smith, Globalpost's senior correspondent in South Africa, wrote "The Times, a Johannesburg newspaper, has reported that a growing number of people with dreadlocks are having their hair stolen. Jasper Munsinwa described how his friend's dreads were stolen while out partying at a Johannesburg club.
Munsinwa's friend, Mutsa Madonko, was found passed out, and his hair shorn — but unusually for
South Africa, his cellphone and wallet were untouched.
The demand is thought to be coming from the hairstyle trend of dreadlock extensions — with the ultimate being real hair rather than synthetic — and trendsetters are willing to pay for a natural look."
More from GlobalPost: South African woman caught smuggling drugs in her dreadlocks (VIDEO)
The Times went on to say that shoulder-length dreadlocks are sold for between 200 and 700 South African rand ($22 to $77), and that longer dread extensions can cost as much as 2500 rand ($277).
Randburg stylist Lebo Masimong told the Times women were the most vulnerable to dread thieves.
"You are an easy target if you walk around the CBD and your hair is loose. They don't care about your money or fancy phone. They are only after your hair."
Johannesburg police spokesman Captain John Maluleka also told the local paper that he encourages victims to open assault cases.
"We have only heard stories," said Maluleka. "No cases have been reported to us."