Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Hollywood Bling Ring

Caught On Tape

Surveillance footage from Lohan robbery
Surveillance footage from Lohan
The police caught two major breaks when Lohan and Patridge's security camera footage was turned over to them. Lohan's tape showed three figures, one tall man and two women, ransacking the apartment. While it took the actress several hours to call in the crime, the video connected the burglaries as the work of the same crew.

Patridge's security camera captured two people, one man and one woman, skulking around the property. The man appeared to be the same person in the other videos. Patridge took action and posted the video on her blog.

Patridge wrote, "They took off with a few very sentimental things too. I spent most of the morning filling out police reports and going through the house room by room, making lists of everything that had been taken. Definitely not a good way to start the week."

Surveillance footage from Partridge robbery
Surveillance footage from Partridge
In total, the bandits had gotten away with $170,000 worth of goods from the two stars.

Patridge's tape brought numerous clues to the police; soon they had a suspect: 18-year old Nicholas Prugo. He was charged two days later.

He was picked up on September 18, 2009, and held on $20,000 bail. Nicholas Prugo was the first of the Bling Ringor the so-called Burglar Bunchto be arrested and charged. For this and other reasons he immediately became the most high-profile of the group. Prugo is tall with strong, sharp features, and changes his hair color from sandy blond to darker brown. One photo of him shows him wearing aviator mirrored shades and a trucker-style hat. He, like his alleged accomplices, looks like a poor copy of the people he is accused of robbing.

Rachel Lee
Rachel Lee
The accused are only a few years apart in age, frequenting the same clubs and trying to rub shoulders with Young Hollywood at chic places like Le Deux. They dress in the same types of designer jeans, the girls wearing their hair long and layered with wrap hoodies and Rayban sunglasses ala Lady Gaga. The resemblance of one of the burglars in the video to Lindsay Lohan was strong enough that it caused some blogs to ponder whether Lohan had actually robbed her own house.

A month after his arrest, Prugo was officially charged with two counts of residential burglary. But Prugo became a valuable asset to the police: with little police pressure, Prugo rolled on his friends and sang like a canary.

He denied that he was the leader of the pack, instead fingering Rachel Lee, another former student from Indian Hills, who had moved in with her father in Las Vegas. He also told police about his and the gang's other celebrity burglaries.

Officer Brett Goodkin, the lead investigator, told Vanity Fair, "He confessed to crimes we didn't even know he committed."

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