“The Real Bling Ring: Robbery in Hollywood”, story of teenagers who robbed the houses of celebrities

From 21 September on Netflix the docuseries in three episodes on the story of the Bling Ring gang: seven young people, some only teenagers, who between 2008 and 2009 robbed the villas of VIPs in the county of Los Angeles, taking away objects for a total value of about 3 million dollars. Among the victims Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan. Now some of them have decided to tell their version

Almost 10 years after the film directed by Sofia Coppola, the members of the Bling Ring gang speak their truth. Arrives September 21 on Netflix (also visible on Sky Q and via the app on the Now Smart Stick) The Real Bling Ring: Heists in Hollywooda three-episode docuseries that reconstructs the story of the gang of young thieves – some of them at the time were teenagers – through the voices of the protagonists, who between 2008 and 2009 robbed the homes of various celebrities in the county of Los Angeles, for a loot total of about 3 million dollars.

The protagonists speak

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The docuseries, as emerges from the trailer, tells the story of the Bling Ring gang by making some of those who were then the members who made it talk: by now they have served their sentence and have decided to retrace what happened. Nick Norgo appears, Nick Prugo at the time, who says of himself: “I’ve always been the type of person willing to do anything to get what he wanted. But I never imagined even in my wildest dreams that all this would reach the level of crime that it has since reached. There is also Alexis Haines (at the time Alexis Neiers), who in Sofia Coppola’s film has the face of Emma Watson: “They painted me as the leader of the Bling Ring-she explains in the trailer of the docuseries-But it’s absolutely not true. I’m not here to save face, but to be honest.” Among the voices also those of the famous blogger Perez Hilton and one of the victims, Audrina Patridge, whose home was burgled on February 22, 2009 during the night of the Oscars: “After the break-in at home I was terrified like never before in my life” .

Who were the members of the Bling Ring gang?

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The Bling Ring gang consisted of 7 people, including teenagers and young adults. There were Rachel Lee, a wealthy teenager considered the organizational mind of the group, and Nicholas Frank Prugo, a friend of Rachel Lee with whom – before dedicating himself to the villas of VIPs – he stole 8,000 dollars from the house of an acquaintance to spend it on shopping of Rodeo Drive. Then three other friends from Rachel Lee’s social circle: Alexis Neiers, Diana Tamayo – so petite that she entered a villa through the cat flap and then opened the door to her accomplices – and Courtney Ames. And it is through the latter that the others met the last two boys: Johnny Ajar, Ames’ boyfriend and ex-con recruited only to resell the stolen objects, and Roy Lopez, Jr., Ames’ colleague in a Calabasas restaurant, involved for the same reason as Ajar but who also participated in one of the thefts carried out in Paris Hilton’s house by taking away 2 million dollars of jewels. The Bling Ring was a group of troubled teenagers, not just fashion and celebrity obsessed kids. Four of them, Nick Prugo, Rachel Lee, Diana Tamayo and Alexis Neiers, attended Indian Hills Alternative High School together after being expelled from other institutions. Prugo and Lee began by stealing credit cards and cash from open Mercedes, Bentleys and other expensive cars in their neighborhood, and he was being treated for anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Tamayo, according to police reports, had entered the United States from Mexico without documents.

The victims

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The Bling Ring gang targeted show business stars, especially women, according to Prugo “mostly because [delle] women who want women’s stuff”. Rachel Lee spoke of their forays as going “shopping.” They identified the homes of celebrities using Google Maps and the website celebrityaddressaerial.com, and then broke in when they knew – thanks to the internet and social networks – that the owners were away because they were busy at some social event. The first victim was Paris Hilton, in whose house the Bling Ring gang broke into a total of five times: the heiress of the luxury hotel chain noticed the thefts and reported only after the disappearance of the 2 million dollar jewels. She then she touched the actress Audrina Patridge, during the night of the Oscars of 2009: her jewels, her passport, a pc and jeans were stolen for a total value of 43 thousand dollars. The OC star Rachel Bilson was robbed three to six times in just two months in 2009 as the thieves stole between $130,000 and $300,000 in luxury goods. On July 13, 2009 it was the turn of the villa of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr: the Bling Ring gang stole couture clothes, works of art, Louis Vuitton suitcases and Bloom’s vintage Rolex collection, for a total of about half million dollars. From the house of Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox the young people took, among other things, a semi-automatic pistol later found by the police in Ajar’s possession: that villa was chosen – according to Prugo – because Rachel Lee wanted Megan Fox’s clothes. The last theft dates back to August 23, 2009: the victim was Lindsay Lohan from whom Lee, Prugo and Tamayo stole $130,000 in clothes and jewellery. Prugo later confessed to police that there were other stars in their sights for the future, including Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Hilary Duff and Vanessa Hudgens.

Investigations and arrests

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The Bling Ring gang was identified after some of them were caught on surveillance cameras at the mansions of Audrina Patridge and Lindsay Lohan. On August 26, 2009, after seeing that both videos featured the same people, the LAPD posted Lohan’s video on the gossip site tmz extensionas an informant told police that Lee and Prugo were responsible for the theft. Prugo was arrested and, although he initially denied any involvement on his part, he eventually confessed without negotiating a deal. Two weeks later, the LAPD arrested the others as well.

The convictions

Rachel Lee was sentenced to 4 years in prison, but was released on parole after one year and 4 months. Nicholas Prugo was given 2 years in prison: he got out after a year for good behavior. Alexis Neiers was sentenced to 180 days in prison and 3 years of probation and to return 600 thousand dollars to Orlando Bloom: during her detention Lindsay Lohan was in the same penitentiary. For Diana Tamayo and Courtney Ames the judges decided on 3 years of probation and 60 days of community service. Johnny Ajar was sentenced to 3 years in prison, but was released after 1 year. For Roy Lopez Jr. the sentence was 3 years of probation and 100 days in prison.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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