'Bling ring' confession helped LAPD break celebrity burglary case, court records show
Authorities arrested suspects accused of burglarizing the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and other young celebrities after a member of the alleged “bling ring” confessed, according a search warrant affidavit obtained by The Times.
The search warrant said the crew would surf the Internet to find where the celebrities lived, then watched the location and worked out ways to break into the home.
In many of the cases, the doors were simply left open. In the case of Hilton and actress Rachel Bilson, the crew broke in numerous times, according to the search warrant affidavit filed at a Las Vegas court.
An informant initially tipped Los Angeles Police Department detectives that Nicholas Frank Prugo and Rachel Lee were responsible for a burglary at Lindsay Lohan's Hollywood Hills home early this year, the search warrant said.
Prugo was arrested in connection with burglaries at the homes of Lohan and Audrina Patridge. At first, Prugo did not cooperate with authorities, the warrant said. But on Oct. 6, Prugo, along with his attorney Sean Erenstoft, met with LAPD detectives to "return some stolen items and report information."
Prugo provided a full confession and implicated several other suspects: Rachel Lee, Diana Tamayo, Alexis Neiers, Courtney Ames, Jonathan Ajar and a man he knows as Roy," according to an affidavit by Det. Craig Dunn of the Las Vegas Police Department. The Las Vegas police were involved because Lee lived in the city.
Roy Lopez and those named were subsequently arrested and charged in connection with at least one of the 10 burglaries that stretched from December to September. Lee has been arrested but not charged by prosecutors.
"Prugo admitted to committing all the burglaries and that Rachel Lee was with him during the residential burglaries of Audrina Patridge, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and the Hilton family,” the affidavit said.
Prugo told detectives that they gained entry into the homes through unlocked doors, with the exception of the Lohan and Hilton residences. Prugo told detectives the group used such websites as TMZ.com and celebrityaddressaerial.com to learn the location of stars’ homes and figure out their travel itinerary, according to the affidavit.
Once a target was chosen, they then visited the location and searched for a mode of entry, Prugo told detectives, according to the search warrant. Prugo stated that they entered the Hilton home approximately three times prior to the December 2008 burglary.
According to the court document, they removed cash, narcotics and thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.
At Bloom's home, the crew allegedly stole several expensive watches and artwork, the records said. They also allegedly broke into Bilson's home three times and, on one occasion, took the television, the search warrant said. Prugo told investigators that he removed as much as $300,000 worth of Chanel clothing from Bilson's residence.
--Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein