The true story of the Bling Ring sounds like something that came out of a Hollywood movie, so naturally it got made into one about five years after the fact. The story surrounds a group of celebrity-obsessed teens robbing celebrities from 2008-2009. By the end their celebrity crime spree, the kids broke into houses belonging to Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Audrina Patridge, Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox, and Ashley Tisdale. In regards to motive, most of the Bling Ring members simply desired the wealth and celebrity that surrounded them all while growing up around Los Angeles and Hollywood.
When the story came to light, it revealed a disturbing overlap of crime and celebrity that spoke volumes about the effects of fame, social media, and materialism. Millions of dollars worth of property was stolen from victims of the Bling Ring, a mighty heist for a group of teenagers. Most Bling Ring members now lay low, no doubt aware their names will likely never escape this association thanks to the Internet and the thing that lured them into their crime spree in the first place: celebrity culture.
While the Bling Ring featured a rotating cast of characters, including members who helped to sell the goods rather than take part in the robberies, the two constant players were Nick Prugo and Rachel Lee. Best friends from an affluent high school for troubled students, the pair bonded over both fashion and the family troubles that each experienced. Having both attended school in a rich area, Calabasas, the two students found themselves dazzled and enticed by celebrity culture and materialism.
Prugo said he went along with the heists for Lee, who wanted the nicer things in life and wanted them to come easily. Lee, according to Prugo, is the one who picked Paris Hilton as a target, reasoning the reality TV star was unintelligent and would have a lot of cash on hand.
Celebrities today constantly utilize social media for a variety of purposes, from tweeting about their latest fabulous vacations to Instagraming their looks from the red carpet. However, by promoting their image and showing off their enviable lifestyles, celebs also provided information to the thieves.
The Bling Ring closely followed celebrities whom they planned to rob; when these targets posted pictures or updates from out of town, the crew saw their opportunity. This way, the culprits ensured the homeowners would not disturb them as they went through their belongings.
When it comes to high class burglaries, the Bling Ring lived up to its name. The gang broke into eight celebrity houses, belonging to film and reality stars alike, during their 10-month larceny spree. They say crime doesn’t pay, but the group of thieves made away with a treasure trove of money and goods.
From clothes to jewelry, cash, and even a pistol, the kids made off with over $3 million in stolen bounty. Most people never even meet a single celebrity in their entire lives, yet this group of young burglars managed to enter the homes of multiple high-profile celebs.
The Bling Ring never appeared to discriminate when it came to targeting celebrities, but the star they seemed enjoyed robbing the most was Paris Hilton, whom they victimized five separate times. The reality star made it quite easy, as the burglars used a key the reality star left under her doormat. Even when Hilton realized her spare key was missing, she merely made another copy of it and stashed it in the same hiding place.
One of the kids even put the key on her own keychain so she could come and go as she pleased. But perhaps what made Hilton such a desirable target centered around the fact that she never noticed anything was amiss until the group's final heist.