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Convicted drug dealer pleads no contest in 'bling ring' celebrity theft case

March 12, 2010 | 12:27 pm

http://latimes.image2.trb.com/lanews/media/photo/2009-10/50095147.jpgA fugitive and convicted drug dealer who allegedly helped a "bling ring" sell off luxury items stolen from the homes of young celebrities including Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, pleaded no contest Friday to several felonies, authorities said.

Jonathan Ajar, known as "Johnny Dangerous," was the fence for the items stolen in at least 10 burglaries that also targeted the residences of Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, Brian Austin Green, Megan Fox, Audrina Patridge and Ashley Tisdale, authorities said.

Ajar, who previously served 37 months in federal prison beginning in 2002, pleaded no contest to three felony counts, including possession of cocaine for sale, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and receiving stolen property, authorities said.

In an interview in the January issue of Maxim magazine, Ajar admitted he had committed the crimes.

Originally charged with 12 felony counts with the possibility of a 15-year minimum sentence in state prison, Ajar now will be sentenced April 15 to three years behind bars.

"It should be noted that Mr. Ajar was not involved in the residential burglaries and was found to be in possession of some of the items that were later returned," said Michael A. Goldstein, Ajar's attorney. "Unfortunately, because of his prior criminal history, my client was left with little choice but to reach a negotiated agreement with the district attorney to avoid the potential of more than 15 years in state prison,"

Authorities said Ajar was a peripheral player in the so-called bling ring, largely composed of young women who attended Indian Hills Continuation High School in Agoura Hills and had a taste for the luxury goods and accessories worn by young celebrities.

More than half a dozen defendants, including a 19-year Calabasas woman who is featured on the E! reality show "Pretty WIld," are awaiting trial in the case.

Police said they recovered from Ajar's Winnetka apartment illicit drugs and a stash of weapons including a Sig Sauer handgun belonging to Brian Austin Green, who starred in the original "Beverly Hills 90210."

Other items seized from Ajar, a former part-time club promoter at Les Deux nightclub in Hollywood, included a diamond-encrusted Cartier Tiger watch, gold and diamond bracelets and cut diamonds weighing more than 42 carats.

Additionally, investigators found a handwritten inventory that listed more than 42 carats of hand-cut diamonds, high-end watches and several diamond-encrusted bracelets consistent with merchandise reported stolen by celebrities.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Image of a "Bling Ring" burglary via security video. LAPD