NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A product being used at nail salons is not only growing in popularity with customers, but thieves too.

As CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported Tuesday, nail salons have long been the target of thieves.

“These are very vulnerable locations because the bad guys know that they are flush with cash,” explained retired NYPD detective Joe Giacalone.

But now, it’s not the cash that robbers are after. It’s gel nail polish.

“The gel nail polish is much more valuable compared to the regular nail polish,” said beauty expert Jeanette Zinno.

Zinno said one bottle of gel can cost up to 15 times more than regular nail polish.

Unlike traditional nail polish, gels contain a hardening agent that prevents the manicure from smudging or chipping.

“So it’s really worth thousands of dollars when you think of it, for a nail salon,” Zinno said.

Experts say this is why thieves are now polishing off inventory at local salons.

“We lost like $2,600 just in colors,” said Miriam Paredas, co-owner of Nails & Spa in Brooklyn.

Paredas says since robbers got in through her back window in February, she installed bars.

“The first week that it happened, I was so nervous. I was crying every day,” she said.

Police confirm to CBS2 Pareda is not alone, Macedo reported.

Thieves targeted another Brooklyn salon, Nail It, just last month. They entered through the basement and stole 1,200 bottles of polish.

“There are a lot of different theories that the police are going to build on a case like this,” Giacalone said.

Giacalone says with the popularity of gel polish, nail salon thefts will likely continue.

Across the country, some pharmacies that carry gel polish have also been targeted by thieves.

Giacalone warns customers should stay alert.

“Your feet are wrapped up, your hands are in a machine drying. If someone comes in, don’t do anything that is going to put your life in danger,” he said.

Police said both Brooklyn cases are still open and under investigation, and that they don’t believe the two cases are linked.


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