ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The owners of a South St. Louis beauty-supply store braced for big repair bills after they fell victim to the latest smash-and-grab burglary.
“In almost 30 years in business, this has never happened before,” said Kings Beauty Supply owner Taewan Cho. “They have broken in, but nothing like this.”
Before 5:30am Monday, his surveillance camera recorded a Jeep SUV backing into the front glass windows of the store on Chippewa Street and South Kingshighway Boulevard.
A witness saw it, too, “I seen a black Bonneville pull in front, then a silver Cherokee back up and crash into the front of the store.” He explains, “I went and called 911 around the corner cause I didn't know if the had guns.”
The witness, who does not want his name revealed, says he saw four robbers enter the store.
The witness added, “Stuff goes on in this parking lot all the time, but nothing like this. They were bold.”
The owner says they snatched nearly premium virgin hair from display panels and stuffed them into black garbage bags, leaving one behind amid boxes of the expensive product.
“They took about $18,000 worth,” Cho said.
Police believe the thieves will sell the hair for half its value on the street. It retails for up to $150 a box.
Police are looking a grey or silver Pontiac Bonneville last seen going west on Chippewa. The Jeep was last seen going east on Chippewa.
This is a family owned business that's been here about eight years. It's the first time it’s been targeted by smash and grab thieves. Owners and residents in the community hope it will be the last.
In May, thieves did the same thing to a Kings Beauty Supply near the Riverview Circle in north St. Louis County. Cho used to own that store, but sold it before the break-in.
In September, police reported to the Forever Young Beauty Supply in south St. Louis after another smash-and-grab burglary.
In all cases, the suspects took the most expensive hair pieces. Stylists weave the pieces into various hair styles that could cost $1,000 per customer.
Police on both sides of the Mississippi are still looking for suspects in similar crimes committed at convenience, electronics, and jewelry stores.