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'Bling Ring' celebrity theft case is drawing to an end

Nearly three years after a group of Calabasas youths nicknamed the "Bling Ring" made headlines in connection with alleged burglaries at celebrity homes, the story is coming to an anti-climactic end.

Roy Lopez. Jr. pleaded no contest Thursday to one count of receiving stolen property. Lopez, 30, received three years’ probation plus time served in the county jail. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss charges of burglary and conspiracy. Paris Hilton, whose jewelry and property Lopez was alleged to have stolen, is not seeking restitution.

The latest development in the trial comes as the case’s lead detective is being investigated by the LAPD for his work as a paid consultant on a Sofia Coppola film about the Bling Ring. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler has been openly critical of Officer Brett Goodkin, and seemed to suggest on Thursday that the detective’s questionable actions helped Lopez get a better plea deal.

“If you violate your probation, I will put you in custody. You got a break because of what’s happened with this case,” Fidler said, without explicitly naming Goodkin.

Lopez’s lawyer David Diamond disputed the judge’s argument, insisting “Roy got a break because he’s a good guy without a criminal record who never entered Paris’ house, and the facts supported that.”

Last month, fellow Bling Ring member Diana Tamayo, 21, also received three years’ probation plus 60 days of community service with the California Department of Transportation, but charges of conspiracy and receiving stolen property were dropped. There is only one defendant remaining in the case, Courtney Ames, who is expected to enter her own plea in December.

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--Amy Kaufman

 
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