Stealing Beauty

Dr. Drew Pinsky may say that America's obsession with vanity is waning, but for some women the lure of cosmetic transformation is impossible to resist: so much so, in fact, that a beautification-related crime wave has broken out! In one daring stunt, a 24-year-old British woman conned a makeover show into paying $50,000 for laser skin treatments, new teeth, clothes, and hair-styling, then disappeared before they could finish filming. We know: It's upsetting to see this most classy and wholesome of TV genres, the only purpose of which is to help people, be exploited so heartlessly.

Not quite so creative, but still pretty audacious: A 30-year-old woman in Huntington Beach, California used a false identity to get liposuction and breast implants, and is currently wanted on charges of commercial burglary, grand theft, and identity theft. But, seriously, who cares about being a fugitive from the law when you've got an awesome rack and slender thighs?

Also still at large is the Botox Bandit of Orange County, who goes to different facilities for Botox and Restylane, then quietly leaves without paying. "This lady definitely has an M.O. going," said one of the doctors who treated her, "she probably goes from building to building until she slips through." A staffer at another duped clinic is more sympathetic: "It just goes to show that people are going through tough times, I guess." Indeed: These places got customers hooked on wrinkle-removers so they only have themselves to blame if the addiction must be fed regardless of money.

Anyway, remember that mother who sold her newborn twins to pay for lipo? She can relax now, knowing that she's not so much a shocking aberration of nature as a trendsetter or, as Malcolm Gladwell would say, an early adopter.

Makeover show girl 'vanishes' [The Sun]
Woman Wanted For Stealing Breast Implants
[Allure]
'Botox Bandit' targeting Newport Beach clinics
[OC Register]