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Alleged 'bling ring' member in protective custody after threat, attorney says

November 9, 2009 | 12:57 pm

Lohan A member of a crew of young people accused of burglarizing celebrity homes, including Paris Hilton's and Lindsay Lohan's, has been placed in protective custody after receiving a threat, his attorney said today.

A search warrant affidavit made public last week indicated that Nicholas Prugo, 18, of Calabasas, provided a full confession and implicated six others in a series of burglaries since last December that netted more than $3 million in designer clothes and jewelry from many on young Hollywood's A-list.

Sean G. Erenstoft, Prugo's attorney, said only that "my client has received a threat." He did not say who made the threat.

Erenstoft said Prugo agreed to cooperate with Los Angeles police detectives and was told his cooperation would not be made public. Erenstoft said his client's information allowed investigators to crack the case that had gone unsolved for months. Prugo was arrested after a tipster informed the Los Angeles Police Department that he was in the so-called bling ring.

LAPD detectives working with Las Vegas Metro Police issued two search warrants for another member's home in Las Vegas. An affidavit for one of the warrants laid out Prugo's cooperation. Despite a court order sealing the affidavit, it was made public, Erenstoft said.

Erenstoft said the information was released by the Las Vegas court and that he expects to take legal action.

"My client is now in protective custody," Erenstoft said.

According to the court documents, Prugo implicated Rachel Lee, Jonathan Ajar, Courtney Ames, Alexis Neiers, Diana Tamayo and a man he knows only as Roy.

The man, Roy Lopez, and most of the others were subsequently arrested and charged in connection with at least one of the 10 burglaries. Lee has been arrested, but not charged. It was Lee's home that was searched last month in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Prugo has been charged with eight of the 10 burglaries.

"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 states.

Prugo told detectives 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.

In the case of Hilton and actress Rachel Bilson, the suspects broke in numerous times, according to the search warrant.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Lindsay Lohan makes an appearance last month in Los Angeles. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

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