THEY were the audacious Hollywood heists that made headlines around the world, as stars like Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan had £2.4m worth of jewellery, cash and clothes stolen.
Now, two members of the infamous Bling Ring, who raided the homes of A-listers between 2008 and 2009, have revealed how they used gossip sites, celebrity address sites and Google maps to plan their crime spree.
In a new Channel 4 documentary, airing tonight, ringleader Nick Pugo also claims that Paris Hilton’s home was broken into FIVE TIMES, stealing cash, clothes and even cocaine, before she finally reported him to the police. policeman.
Speaking on Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, Pugo reveals that they found the heiress’s key under her doormat and used it whenever they needed cash to fund their lavish lifestyle.
He says: “We were constantly going to Paris Hilton’s house. She was like our personal ATM. We knew we would always find a few thousand.
Pugo, who was just 18 years old when he was arrested for the robberies and served a year in jail, claims he became involved in a life of crime after meeting his friend Rachel Lee.
“I’ve always been the kind of person who would do what I had to do to get what I want,” he says. “But I never realized in my wildest dreams that it would reach the level of criminality that it did.
The three-part show, which airs on consecutive nights, also features interviews with victim Audrina Patridge, who says she was traumatized by the robbery at her Beverly Hills home.
“It changed everything, it made me more cautious and distrustful of anyone or anything,” says the reality TV star. “They had to be punished.”
Suspected leader Lee, who does not appear in the documentary and declined to comment, has served 16 months.
Alexis Neiers, who was starring in her own reality show at the time of her arrest, spent a month in a detention center and two more accomplices, Courtney Ames and Diana Tamayo, were released on parole.
He also had a supporting role in the 2013 film Bling Ring, starring Emma Watson.
hungry for fame
Nick Pugo was drawn to the idea of fame and glamor from a young age, even landing small roles on Jamie-Lynn Spears’ Zoey 101 and a few Nickelodeon shows.
“It was great to drive to the set, I felt famous,” he said. “I wasn’t interested in acting, per say, it was the experience of the cameras and the attention.”
His burgeoning acting career fizzled out in his teens, when puberty left him confused and self-conscious and anxiety prevented him from going to auditions.
Move to the affluent district of Calabasas, where neighbors included Justin Bieber. Selena Gomez and Drake, his family’s comparative poverty took a toll on his self-confidence, but when he befriended Rachel Lee, all that changed.
“Rachel was super confident, super pretty and knew all the beautiful people,” he says. “She was interested in celebrity and we came together because of that. She went to all the right parties, and that was wonderful for me.”
After a party, Lee discovered that one of the luxury cars outside was unlocked and stole some credit cards, Pugo claims.
The next day, the couple spent £4,300 in exclusive stores in Los Angeles.
The pair progressed to stealing cars, using their ill-gotten gains to finance a party lifestyle of designer clothes, drinks and drugs, and nightclubs at star hangouts.
“We feel like such hot shit**,” says Pugo. “It was a little piece of me. He loved me.
“We were spending as much as we were stealing. When the money ran out, we needed another score.”
Gossip Site Link to the Paris Raid
The rise of social networking sites in the late 2000s led to the pair’s first robbery, after a former friend of Pugo’s revealed on MySpace that he was going to Jamaica for 11 days.
Finding an open door, they took £24,000 out of their parents’ bedroom, saying: “It was like getting your first paycheck from a new job. We spend many hours on this.
“The new technology that came out made it very easy and we were just getting started.”
It was gossip site TMZ that led them to target Paris Hilton, after it was revealed that she would be attending an event in Miami.
Having seen the luxurious life he led on his reality show The Simple Life, they were eager to pocket a cut.
Within minutes, Pugo found a site that turned out to be a “treasure trove of celebrity addresses,” including that of Hilton, who lived in a gated community.
He finally used Google maps to check the terrain and found a hiking trail in the hills behind his house.
“That technology was a godsend. It was vital in our operation,” she says.
The couple then jumped over the fence and tried the front door, finding it unlocked.
“We were excited to be close to home, not as a stalker, but as a geek fan,” he says. “Even though we were going to rob him.”
In her dressing room, they found an Aladdin’s cave of designer dresses, lingerie, bags and spectacles, most with labels.
“We were ready to go shopping,” he says.
“We think most of them were given to him by designers and shops, so we didn’t feel like we were stealing from Paris, but from them.
“There were open wallets with shredded bills: $100, $50, spare change from a night out. I certainly thought I needed it more than she did.
“We don’t feel like there was a victim. She had millions of dollars, we didn’t think she would find out.”
Key under the mat
On that occasion they left with £40,000 worth of goods and cash.
After hearing nothing in the press about the robbery, they risked a second raid and found a key under the rug, which they used over and over again.
“Whenever we found designer bags, always with a couple of big crinkles.
“Rachel would wear some clothes, jewelry. We found a bag of coke one day which was fine because we were doing drugs. That was a good night.”
Paris has denied there were any drugs in the house.
Initially, they avoided taking the heiress’s most expensive jewelery kept in her often unlocked safe, but eventually hired another man, Roy Lopez, to raid the property and steal £1.6m worth of gems.
This time the star reported the robbery but they were safe, because López was the only culprit.
Hills star feared for his life
The Hills star Audrina was at an Oscar party when she became the next victim.
“Rachel loved the style of Lindsay Lohan and Audrina Patridge,” says Pugo. “We weren’t obsessed with celebrities, we were obsessed with the things they had.”
The pair entered through an unlocked patio door at the back of the house and once again raided the star’s closet.
Audrina had just returned from a trip to Australia with a suitcase of new designer clothes, and when she came back from the party, the box and jewelery box were missing.
“Companies and brands would send you boxes and boxes of stuff hoping you’d use it on the show. Dresses, shoes, bags.
“But they also took sentimental things passed down from mothers and grandmothers. It was like they went shopping in my closet.”
The gang got away with £340,000, but the reality star also feared for his life.
“I thought, ‘What if they’re still in the house? I was thinking they were going to kill me. I locked myself in my closet. I was more terrified than ever,” she says.
Security cameras caught the teens on screen but, even when it was released on TMZ, no one came forward to
“We feel slippery,” says Pugo. “Proud of ourselves for committing another robbery. We weren’t stealing from the poor.”
Bling Ring Loot
Paris Hilton – £2 million
Audrina Patridge – £340,000
Rachel Bilson – £173,000
Orlando Bloom – £430,000
Lindsay Lohan – £100,000
Rolex watches and bundles of cash
As a fan of the hit series The OC, Lee chose to target star Rachel Bilson, who was in New York for a fashion event.
Despite being drunk and high on coke, after partying all night, the couple managed to fool a police officer who pulled them over for speeding and enter through an open window.
They got away with loot worth £173,000
By this time, friends Alexis Neiers, Courtney Ames and Diana Tamayo had taken an interest in the shindig and all wanted in on the next heist.
Together, they targeted Orlando Bloom’s house, knowing he was filming.
“There were so many clothes, dresses and lingerie, all with the tags on. It was almost like you were in a luxury store,” says Prugo.
“I took a ton of his clothes. There were 10 Rolex watches and five large cash in an envelope.”
Pugo brazenly dressed in some of the £430,000 loot, boasting: “Orlando Bloom had great style and, lucky for me, he was my size.”
The gang’s “last hurray” was a hit at actress Lindsay Lohan’s house.
Upon arrival, Pugo felt “more uneasy than ever,” seeing the many security cameras at the scene, but says he was afraid of losing his friendship with Lee.
“There was stuff everywhere,” says Pugo, calling his home a “hoarder’s paradise”, and saying his car was packed to the brim with £100,000 worth of goods.
But his luck had run out.
In a final twist to the story, it was TMZ, the same site where he had stalked his victims, that undid Pugo when they showed the footage at Lohan’s home.
And it was Alexi, who had been starring on the reality show Pretty Wild with his family, who bought Pugo off the police.
While her account of the robberies and their friendship strongly disagrees with Pugo’s, she admits to some involvement in Bloom’s raid and was sentenced to six months.
Ironically, during her time at Century Regional Detention Center in California, victim Lindsay Lohan was a fellow inmate.
Bling Ring: Hollywood Heists airs on Channel 4 for three consecutive nights starting at 9pm tonight.