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Amish hair-cutting gang targets communities in eastern Ohio

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Close shave: Amish communities are living in fear of a gang believed to be breaking into homes and cutting off beards. Picture: AP AP

A GROUP of Amish men is being investigated for allegedly breaking into Ohio family homes and chopping their victims' hair and beards off, The Wheeling Intelligencer reports.

The Amish hair-cutting gang is being investigated by four different sheriff departments in Ohio. They face charges of burglary and felonious assault.

The group refers to itself as part of the Bergholz clan, a nearby Amish community led by bishop Sam Mullet, which was the subject of a disputed child custody raid in 2007 amid allegations of sexual abuse.

The spate of attacks began around three weeks ago and targeted other Amish community members, the newspaper said.

One of the victims in Holmes County described how the gang of between 20 to 30 men dragged him from his house by his beard. Others said they were accosted inside their homes before their hair was cut off.

Holmes County sheriff Timothy Zimmerly told reporters the victims also included a 13-year-old girl and a 74-year-old man.

The gang's alleged getaway vehicle - a truck and horse trailer - was searched for evidence by police in Jefferson County.

Clumps of hair from the victims were sent to the sheriff's office for analysis.

This is the complete article. The original can be found here. The story is also carried by the San Francisco Chronicle, here, where the motive is given as 'an apparent feud over spiritual differences'.



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