A brazen young thief was caught by surveillance cameras in the act early Wednesday of robbing HQ Too Wigs on Grand Avenue. At least a half-dozen wigs valued at more than $300 were taken in the Wednesday robbery.
(Surveillance video of early Wednesday wig shop theft. Break-in occurs just after 1:00 mark.)
As shocking as that action was, it also represented the third break-in at the shop since just before Christmas. Each time, this thief, or other thieves, apparently picked and chose among the wigs, leaving some and taking others with some kind of plan in mind.
“Every two weeks since just before Christmas, the store windows have been shattered and stuff stolen,” Tim McClintic, son of wig shop owner Cathy Ketchum, said. ”The first time was two weeks before Christmas, then Christmas Eve and now around 2 a.m. Wednesday. We think it was a mentally challenged kid trying to impress his girlfriend or something.”
The thief also tried to break into McClintic’s New2U Consignment and Gifts, a few doors down on Grand Avenue, but was unsuccessful.
While these wigs can be somewhat valuable, even on the street at discounted prices, the thefts continue to be puzzling as to motive. The fact is wigs must be fitted and sized to work with an individual’s natural hair or features, so lose most of their value when re-sold. That led McClintic and Ketchum to believe motives weren’t necessarily purely financial.
Making these particular thefts even more troubling is the very nature of Ketchum wig shop. She opened HQ Wigs TOO at 105 W. Grand Avenue in July. Four hundred wigs, mainly for cancer patients, later, Ketchum provides wigs with empathy, wanting to do her part in making people feel better about themselves even with hair falling out due to chemotherapy and various cancer treatments.
Ketchum can spend hours fitting and styling a wig for a patient, even including a free cut and style with all chemotherapy wig sales. She also has a non-profit group called “Look Great, Feel Great.” The non-profit has donated 50 wigs to women in need.
“I just want to get the word out there for cancer patients,” Ketchum said when she opened the shop. “I’ve even come to work on my day off if something was needed. I’m very empathetic.”
While unusual, believe it, or not, wig thefts take place and were even more prominent dating back to the 18th Century when wigs were de rigueur. Police in Houston dealt with a wig crime wave in 2014 when 10 stores were struck in a short period of time.
The Houston wig wave began when 11 wigs destined for a fancy spa event for women who had lost hair due to cancer treatment were taken from an upscale wig shop. Donors held a fundraiser to replace the stolen wigs.
Wig theft sprees were reported in 2015 around Denver, Miami, Houston again, Waco and Orem, Utah.
Escondido Police Officer Christopher Dare has been working the case. anyone with information is asked to call Dare at (760) 839-4722 or contact San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. McClintic also asked anybody with information to contact him at his store if they were hesitant to contact police.