crimesider

Teen Bandits Steal Millions in Bling from Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox and More, Say Cops

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Photo: Paris Hilton.

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Will this become the age of the stay-at-home celebrity?

A table filled with $2 million in stolen jewelry from stars' homes represented just a fraction of the celebrity property pilfered by a group of Hollywood-obsessed teens over the past year, Los Angeles police told reporters Wednesday.

The display was part of a show-and-tell of burglarized celebrity bling taken from the homes of stars including Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton.

Police last week arrested four young women and two men on suspicion of robbing 10 homes in the Hollywood Hills. Other victims of the alleged year-long stealing spree include "The Hills" star Audrina Patridge, Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox, Brian Austin Green, Ashley Tisdale and Rachel Bilson.

(AP Photo/ Emanuel Ungaro)
Photo: Lindsay Lohan.

"They thought it was fun, kind of an adrenaline rush," Los Angeles police officer Brett Goodkin said. "They would go in and steal the celebrity's clothes and possessions, things they could never afford on their own."

Police said the six suspects, five of them teens, scoured celebrity blogs and Web sites looking for valuables, and then used the Internet to figure out where the stars lived.

(AP Photo)
Photo: Megan Fox.

After watching a home, they would break into poorly protected properties through doors, windows and, in one case, even a doggy door. The burglaries reportedly lasted from October 2008 until this September.

Items stolen "run the gamut of high-end designer clothing," Goodkin said. "You could pick a designer, and they would be among what was taken."

Police say they recovered three guns and a large amount of drugs as they served search warrants in the case. They did not specify where they searched.

The robberies were driven by "celebrity infatuation and greed," Goodkin said.

Attorney Blair Berk, who represents some of the high-profile victims, said the crimes highlight the growing risks faced by celebrities in a world of unending media attention. Berk worries the scrutiny is putting a "bull's-eye on the forehead of celebrities."

"You cannot on a weekly basis publish pictures of the back entrance to someone's house and do stories on their collection of cars and jewelry without increasing that person's vulnerability to theft and harm," Berk said. "It's a celebrity envy thing.

"It's the new sociopath generation of 'I really like those Chanel boots.' Instead of going out and buying them, they just steal them."

Police displayed an evidence photograph Wednesday depicting approximately $2 million in stolen jewelry that was recovered and returned to Paris Hilton.

(LAPD)
LAPD Evidence Photo: Jewelry and a Louis Vitton bag stolen from Paris Hilton's home.

The thieves snatched dozens of items of flashy, gem-encrusted jewelry, then made off with it in the socialite's Louis Vuitton bag, according to police.

The suspects include 18-year-olds Rachel Lee, Courtney Ames and Alexis Neiers, and Diana Tamayo, 19.

Neiers had been the subject of a reality-TV pilot episode that the Los Angeles Times said was about aspiring actresses.

The cable network E! would not confirm that, but network officials issued a brief statement they "are concerned by recent events, awaiting further details and will be monitoring the situation closely." The statement said shooting began recently and would continue.

In a short interview on E!'s Web site, Neiers said she was eager to put the matter behind her.

"I just learned my lesson that I need to make some better friends and some better decisions as far as my friends go," she said.

Several of the group graduated two years ago from the "continuation campus" at Indian Hills High School in suburban Agoura Hills, said Donald Zimring, superintendent of the Las Virgenes Unified School District.

(LAPD)
Security Camera Still: Three suspects attempting to enter Lindsay Lohan's Hollywood Hills home in August 2009 in Los Angeles.

Such campuses are for students struggling to attain good grades in regular schools, but Zimring could not comment on their academic records.

Additionally, 18-year-old Nicholas Prugo was arrested last month in the same case on suspicion of breaking into the homes of Lohan and Patridge. A sixth suspect, 27-year-old Ray Lopez Jr., was also arrested.

(LAPD)
Mug Shot: Nicholas Prugo.

Police also sought Jonathan Ajar, also 27, for a variety of offenses, including receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm.

Prosecutors have filed felony residential burglary charges against Neiers, Ames, Tamayo and Lopez Jr. They declined to file charges against Lee, pending further investigation, and additional charges will be filed against Prugo, who had already been charged with burglaries at Lohan and Patridge's homes.

Lee appeared to be the "driving force" behind the burglaries, officer Goodkin said.

Publicists for Lohan and Bloom did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment. Patridge's publicist declined to comment.

Paris Hilton retrieved stolen belongings, including most of her missing jewelry, from police, but did not get everything she lost, her publicist said.
  • Sammy Saltzman

Comments

Follow Us