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05th Jul 2013

“Hollywood Hills Burglars” – The Real Story Behind The Bling Ring

Hard to believe that it is all based on a true story...

The Bling Ring, directed by Sofia Coppola, is in cinemas nationwide this Friday, but it is hard to believe that the entire story is based on true events.

The Bling Ring were a group of teenagers often referred to as the “Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch” or the “Hollywood Hill Burglars” who targeted the homes of several high profile celebrities in a spate of robberies.

It is estimated that the group were responsible for the robbery of up to $3 million in cash and possessions from these burglaries. Paris Hilton was one of the group’s most targeted, her home was robbed on several occasions.

Shockingly, many of the celebrities whose homes were invaded were completely oblivious to the fact that they had been robbed, purely because they possessed so much.

The story was brought to the world’s attention in 2010 when Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales wrote about the “Bling Ring”, first writing an article and then turning the story into a book, on which the film is based.

The group was led by Rachel Lee, played by Katie Chang in the film, who was certainly of a priveleged upbringing, she even drove a white Audi A4 to school. Lee was obsessed with the lives of reality TV stars and was the motivation behind the group.

Other members of the group included Alexis Neiers, brought to life in the Bling Ring by Emma Watson and who claimed she was never involved with the robberies. Nick Prugo, played by Israel Broussard, who bonded with Lee over their love of fashion, Diana Tamayo, apparently an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and a few others from Lee’s social circle over time.

Celebrities targeted by the group included Rachel Bilson, Audrina Patridge, Megan Fox, Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr and Lindsay Lohan. Hilton allowed her house to be used for the burglary scenes and appeared in the film herself.

The group were only stopped when an anonymous tipster informed police that Lee and Prugo had been behind the Lindsay Lohan burglary. Prugo was arrested and confessed to the crimes. Search warrants were then issued for the rest of the group and they were subsequently arrested.

Lee had been convinced that she removed all of the evidence relating to the robberies from her house, so much so that she had asked police calmly if she could help them with evidence. When she discovered Lohan’s coat and a picture of Hilton were found at the apartment, Lee became hysterical.

Lee, along with Prugo, served jail time while the others were given community service and probation.

The group apparently had plans to rob over 50 other celebrity homes before their arrest, including the homes of Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus.

The Bling Ring is in cinemas this Friday, 5th July.