How Bling Ring gang used Hollywood star's home as 'personal ATM' and stole millions from celebs with outrageous tricks

THEY were the audacious Hollywood heists that made headlines around the world, as stars including Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan were robbed of jewellery, cash and clothes worth £2.4million.

Now two members of the infamous Bling Ring, who targeted 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, which airs tonight, ringleader Nick Pugo also claims they let themselves into Paris Hilton’s house FIVE TIMES – stealing cash, clothes and even cocaine – before she finally reported it to the police.

Speaking in Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, Pugo reveals 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’d always find a few grand.”

Pugo – who was just 18 when he was arrested for the burglaries and served a year in jail – claims he was led into a life of crime after meeting pal Rachel Lee.

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“I’ve always been the type of person who would do what I had to do to get what I want,” he says. “But I never realised in my wildest dreams it would reach the level of criminality that it did.

The three parter – running on consecutive nights – also features interviews with victim Audrina Patridge, who says she was left traumatised by the burglary at her Beverly Hills home.

“It changed everything, it made me more guarded and not trusting of anyone or anything”, the TV star says. “They had to be punished.”

Alleged leader Lee – who does not appear in the documentary and refused to comment – served 16 months.

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Alexis Neiers – who was starring in her own reality show at the time of her arrest – spent a month in a detention centre and two more accomplices, Courtney Ames and Diana Tamayo, were given probation.

She also had a minor role in the 2013 film Bling Ring, starring Emma Watson.

Fame hungry

Nick Pugo was attracted to the idea of fame and glamour from a young age, even landing bit parts on Jamie-Lynn Spears show Zoey 101 and some Nickelodeon shows.

“It was cool driving to the set, I felt famous,” he said. “I wasn’t interested in the acting, per say, it was the experience of the cameras and the attention.”

His burgeoning acting career floundered in his teens, when puberty left him confused and self-conscious and anxiety stopped him going to auditions.

Moving to the wealthy district of Calabasas, where neighbours included Justin Bieber. Selena Gomez and Drake, his family’s comparative poverty battered his self-confidence, but when he became friends with Rachel Lee, all that changed.

“Rachel was super-confident, super-pretty and she knew all the beautiful people,” he says. “She was interested in celebrity and we bonded over that. She was going to all the right parties, and that was awesome for me."

After one party, Lee found one of the luxury cars outside was open and stole some credit cards, claims Pugo.

The following day, the pair blew £4,300 in exclusive LA stores.

The pair progressed to stealing cars, using their ill-gotten gains to fund a party lifestyle of designer clothes, drink and drugs and clubbing in venues frequented by stars.

“We felt like such hot sh**,” Pugo says. “It was a little piece of me. I loved it.

“We were spending as much as we were stealing. When the money ran out , we needed another score.”

Gossip site link to Paris raid

The rise of social media sites in the later 2000s led to the pair’s first burglary, after a former friend of Pugo revealed on MySpace that he was going to Jamaica for 11 days.

Finding a door open, they nabbed £24,000 from his parents bedroom and said: “It was like getting your first paycheck from a new job. We put a lot of hours into this.

“The new technology coming out made it so easy and we were just getting started.”

It was gossip site TMZ that led them to target Paris Hilton, after it revealed she was attending an event in Miami.

Having seen the luxurious life she led on her reality show The Simple Life, they were keen to bag a slice.

In minutes, Pugo found a site which proved a “treasure trove of celebrity addresses” including Hilton’s, who lived in a gated community.

Finally he used Google maps to check out the terrain, and found a hiking route in the hills behind her house.

“That technology was a godsend. It was vital in our operation,” he says.

The pair then climbed over the fence and tried her front door – finding it open.

“We were excited to be near her house not in a stalker way but in a geeky fan way,” he says. “Even though we were going to rob her.”

In her walk-in wardrobe, they found an Aladdin’s cave of designer dresses, lingerie, handbags and shows, most with tags on.

“We were ready to go shopping,” he says.

“We figured most of them were gifted to her by designers and stores so we didn’t feel like we were stealing from Paris, but from them.,

“There were purses open with crumbled notes – $100, $50s – spare change from a night out. I certainly thought I needed it more than she did.

“We didn’t feel there was a victim. She had millions of dollars, we didn't think she'd even notice.”


Key under mat

On that occasion they left with goods and cash worth £40,000.

After hearing nothing in the press about the theft, they risked a second raid and found a key under the mat – which they used again and again.

“Each time we found designer purses, always with a couple of grand crumpled up.

“Rachel would take some clothes, jewellery. We found a bag of coke one day which was nice because we were doing drugs.That was a good night.”

Paris has denied there were drugs at the house.

Initially they avoided taking the more expensive jewellery the heiress kept in her safe, which was often open but finally they roped in another man, Roy Lopez, to raid the property and steal £1.6million of gems.

This time the star reported the theft but they were safe, because Lopez was the only culprit.

Hills star feared for her life

The Hills star Audrina was out at an Oscar bash when she became the next victim.

“Rachel loved Lindsay Lohan’s style and Audrina Patridge,” says Pugo. “We weren’t obsessed with the celebrities, more the stuff they had.”

The pair let themselves in 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 returned from the party,the case and jewellery box were gone.

“Companies and brands sent you boxes and boxes of stuff in the hope you’ll wear it on the show. Dresses, shoes, purses.

“But also they took sentimental stuff handed 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 was also left in fear of her 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 the most terrified I’ve ever been,” she says.

Security cameras caught the teens on screen but, even when it was posted on TMZ, no one came forward to

“We felt slick,” says Pugo. “Proud of ourselves that we had committed another burglary. We weren’t stealing from the poor.”


Bling Ring Swag

Paris Hilton – £2m

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 hit series The O.C, Lee then 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 pair managed to fob off a police officer who stopped them for speeding and break in through an open window.

They got away with swag worth £173,000

By this time, pals Alexis Neiers, Courtney Ames and Diana Tamayo had become interested in the spree, and all wanted to come along to the next heist.

Together, they targeted the home of Orlando Bloom, knowing he was away filming.

"There were so many clothes, dresses, and lingerie all with the tags on. It was almost like you are at a high-end store,” says Prugo.

"I took a ton of his clothes. There were 10 Rolex watches and five grand cash in an envelope.”

Brazenly, Pugo dressed in some of the £430,000 haul, boasting, “Orlando Bloom had great style and lucky for me he was my size.”


Last hurrah

The gang’s “last hurrah” was a hit on actress Lindsay Lohan’s home.

On arrival, Pugo felt “more uneasy than ever,” spotting the many security cameras on site but he says he was scared of losing his friendship with Lee.

“There was stuff everywhere”, Pugo says, calling her home a “hoarder’s paradise”, and saying his car was stuffed to the brim with goods worth £100,000.

But their luck had run out.

In a final twist in the tale it was TMZ – the very site he had stalked his victims on – that undid Pugo when they showed the footage at Lohan's house.

And it was Alexi – who had been starring in reality show Pretty Wild with her family – who shopped Pugo to the police.

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While her account of the burglaries and their friendship is wildly at odds with Pugo’s, she admits some involvement in Bloom’s raid and was sentenced to six month.

Ironically, during her time in the Century Regional Detention Facility in California, victim Lindsay Lohan was a fellow inmate.

Bling Ring: Hollywood Heists airs on Channel 4 for three consecutive nights from 9pm tonight.



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