As far as home burglaries go, there is perhaps no story more infamous than that of the "Bling Ring." Much of that infamy is thanks in part to the fact that the group of robbers known as the Bling Ring was recently portrayed in the 2013 film, The Bling Ring, directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Emma Watson as one of the burglars. Even before their story hit the big screen, however, this group of Hollywood miscreants was widely known for their ability to steal vast amounts of goods from the homes of some of the world's most famous celebrities. Here's a brief introduction to the burglary story that rocked Hollywood.
How Did They Do It?
Breaking and entering into the homes of some of the richest people in the world isn't exactly an easy task, so how did this group pull off their Hollywood crime spree? Part of their success was thanks to the Internet, and part was thanks to good old-fashioned luck. Their first major celebrity target was Paris Hilton, whom they chose because they thought she was "dumb." It turns out that, at least in the case of her home security knowledge, their assumptions were correct. After using Google Earth to plot their attack, the group secretly made their way to Hilton's front door when she was away, and discovered that she had hidden a key under the welcome mat. This would have made their burglary much easier if Hilton hadn't left the front door unlocked. After the Hilton robbery, however, their task became more difficult, and the gang had to use various break-and-entry techniques to enter the locked homes of other celebrities. Throughout the 2009 celebrity crime spree, the group continued to use various online tools to find out when celebrities would be away from their homes and to plot their robbery routes.
Why Did They Do It?
Stealing from some of the biggest names in Hollywood obviously poses many inherent risks, so what motivated this group to take on such high-profile targets? According to the perpetrators, one of the main motivators was the celebrity lifestyle itself. Rachel Lee, the supposed ringleader of the gang, was reportedly obsessed with reality TV and would go to any lengths necessary to live the rich and famous lifestyle. Beyond this obsession with brand names and celebrities, however, the members of the Bling Ring also had one other thing in common: they all had difficult lives and were misfits in society. Many of the gang members were also addicted to drugs, and had previously engaged in other criminal activities.
How Did They Get Caught?
After dozens of burglaries targeting celebrities like Audrina Patridge, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, and Lindsay Lohan, the members of the Bling Ring were apprehended after Hollywood police received information about the robberies from an anonymous tipster. Burglar Nick Prugo's face was also captured on surveillance film during the Lohan robbery; through Prugo, police were able to track down the other six members of the gang. Prugo was the first to be arrested, and eventually made a full confession.
While you may not be living the lifestyle of a Hollywood celebrity, it's important to know that your home could still be a target. Installing the right home security system can help keep your home safe from any Bling Ring imitators that might be lurking in your neighborhood. At the very least, if you want to keep your home safe, learn from Paris Hilton's mistake and remember to lock the door when you leave!