Now that the cases of the so-called “Bling Ring” – five teens and a 27-year-old from the Los Angeles-area accused of breaking into stars’ homes in 2008 and 2009, and stealing millions of dollars’ worth of property – are headed back to court, some of the members are speaking out.
“There was a definite thrill to it,” 19-year-old Nick Prugo, who was arrested last September, told Good Morning America Wednesday. “I don’t think any of us realized how severe it was until we actually got caught. It didn’t seem as bad as it was.
“Now that I look back,” Prugo continued, “I realize how serious it was It scares me to death.”
While Prugo appeared on TV, the ring’s alleged leader, Rachel Lee, also 19, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in an L.A. court to multiple charges, including receiving stolen property – namely, a fur coat that reportedly belonged to one of the celebrities. Between them, the ring allegedly targeted the homes of Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan and Megan Fox, among others.
Lee’s alleged accomplices, including Prugo, are Alexis Neiers, Diana Tamayo, Courtney Ames, all 19, and Roy Lopez, 27. They too have entered not-guilty pleas to charges related to the alleged crime spree.
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Ransacked Orlando Bloom’s House
In a newly published Vanity Fair article that quotes Prugo and Neiers and cites police records, it is reported that on July 13, 2009, Prugo, Neiers, Lee and Tamayo cut through a security fence and entered Bloom’s house. Once inside, they ransacked the residence, allegedly collecting about $500,000 in Rolex watches, Louis Vuitton luggage and artwork, according to the story.
The magazine also reports that Prugo points to Lee as the group’s leader, saying she was motivated by her desire to mimic the stars she admired – and wear their labels: Chanel, Gucci, Tiffany, Cartier, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent.
As for the reaction of those burgled, Audrina Patridge describes watching a surveillance tape of the robbery taking place at her home, relieving her of $43,000 in personal property. “They took bags and bags of stuff,” Patridge tells Vanity Fair. “They took my great-grandma’s jewelry, my passport, my laptop, jeans made to fit my body to my perfect shape.”
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Prugo says the group hit Hilton’s Hollywood Hills home in October 2008, stealing expensive lingerie, a designer dress, a bottle of Grey Goose vodka, and “crumpled cash, fifties, hundreds” from Hilton’s purses. The magazine reports that Hilton didn’t notice or report the missing items until two months later.
After returning to Hilton’s home on a separate occasion to gather more of the heiress’s belongings, Prugo says he and his friends “drove around Mulholland, having the best time of our lives.”
Neiers, who admits no guilt in any of the alleged break-ins, does admit to working on a reality show about the incidents, tentatively titled Pretty Wild.