The three-part series spotlights two members of the infamous crew alongside investigators and attorneys
Published September 22, 2022 7: 25PM (EDT)
Paris Hilton(Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Years after their string of celebrity burglaries, The Bling Ring still remains an infamous name in Hollywood.
Between October 2008 and August 2009, the crew of seven fame-hungry teens broke in to the homes of several celebrities including Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan and stole around $3 million in cash and belongings. The members were subsequently tried and convicted and were all found guilty on several counts of residential burglary despite their pleas.
Per year after their misdeeds were publicly blasted, The Bling Ring earned a Vanity Fair profile, compiled by veteran journalist Nancy Jo Sales and aptly titled “The Suspects Wore Louboutins.” And 3 years later, the piece garnered a film adaptation Sofia Coppola’s glitzy satirical crime film, simply called “The Bling Ring” with Emma Watson, Katie Chang and Israel Broussard starring because the group’s ringleaders.
Now, the bombshell tale has been spotlighted again in Netflix’s latest docuseries, “THE TRUE Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist.” The three-part series stars two members of the group, Nick Prugo and Alexis Neiers, who recount their involvement and try to set the record straight on the crimes, despite their contradictory firsthand accounts. A swanky agent, a high profile stylist and the investigators and attorneys who have been all area of the case provide additional insight and background information to essentially give a “fly-on-the-wall” viewing experience.
Listed below are 7 shocking revelations from the docuseries:
Prugo said he experienced a rough patch in his life during his early teen years. He struggled to come quickly to terms along with his own sexuality and appearance and experienced newfound anxiety, which became so overwhelming he stopped pursuing his passion for acting. To create matters worse, he and his family moved from the quiet, middle income neighborhood of San Fernando Valley to the wealthier Calabasas (that is home to celebrities like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Drake and The Weeknd).
“Likely to school, you’ll literally see Mercedes, Range Rovers, Porches, BMWs,” Prugo recalled. “My mom was dropping me off in a Honda. You are feeling like you’re protruding, rather than in a great way.”
Things seemingly improved when he met Rachel Lee, a woman at his new school who Prugo referred to as everything he wasn’t Lee was incredibly confident, popular, social and pretty.
“She sort of took a shine if you ask me,” he said. “She brought me out of my shell.” Much like Prugo, Lee was fascinated with entertainment, celebrity culture, gossip and partying.
One night, the pair was leaving a celebration in the Valley when Lee broke into an unlocked car after using its door handle. They stole all of the credit cards which were left inside and the next day, continued an extravagant shopping spree.
Prugo said he felt confident around Lee and continued helping her perform vehicle thefts to be able to maintain their friendship. Following a nights partying, they might drive around Calabasas and seek out unlocked cars to steal from. Prugo would drive while Lee, from the passengers seat, would discreetly stick her give away to check the entranceway handles.
On another night, Lee found an unlocked car with the keys still in the vehicle. She stole the keys and the automobile, later replacing its license plate and driving the automobile to school.
Alexis Neiers from “THE TRUE Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist” (Netflix)Alexis Neiers from “THE TRUE Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist” (Netflix)
Unlike Prugo, Neiers was raised within an affluent household with her father Michael, who worked because the director of photography on “Friends;” her mother Andrea, a former Playboy model turned actress; and her sister Gabbie.
Neiers’ parents were heavy drinkers and partiers and her mother also used cocaine for a long time, even following her birth.
“However when she was having kids, my mom was sort of ready to mature, and my father had not been,” Neiers said. Andrea and Michael split following the latter was caught cheating.
“Following the divorce, we probably moved nine times,” Neiers continued. “I was just like a needy, broken, damaged kid at that time. And I was angry.”
Neiers, Andrea and Gabbie quickly fell into debt due to Andrea’s extravagant purchases. Even though family didn’t have a reliable income, thousands would be allocated to expensive beauty treatments and procedures.
“My mom had a cellulite machine that cost like $30,000,” Gabbie recalled. “We’d different facial infrared light machines. Everything was [centered] around beauty and weight reduction.”
The household eventually filed for bankruptcy also to replace their insufficient money, Andrea became a minister at the Church of Religious Science, that was reported to be a cross between Buddhism and witchcraft. The church preached the significance of using one’s thoughts and emotions to generate their desired life also referred to as regulations of Attraction which Andrea embraced wholeheartedly. She created a vision board covered with magazine clippings, family photos and, oddly, an individual million-dollar bill hoping of successfully “attracting” careers for herself and her family in the entertainment industry.
Andrea also wrote an extended affirmation on her behalf family to recite daily. Each morning, they might gather in a circle, hold hands and recite their affirmation.
“My mom really dove into that church specifically because she wished to think that she could think away her problems,” Neiers said.
Nicholas Prugo from “THE TRUE Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist” (Netflix)Nicholas Prugo from “THE TRUE Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist” (Netflix)
The pair eventually ran out of cars to steal from and began breaking into and robbing homes. Their first victim was a vintage acquaintance of Prugo who announced online he was planing a trip to Jamaica for 11 days. Both Prugo and Lee broke into his house via the trunk door, that was left unlocked, and stole an incident filled up with $8,000 in cash.
“It had been like, you understand, the angel using one shoulder and the devil on another,” Prugo said. “This is unique of stealing cars. This felt more personal.”
So far, Prugo and Lee was not caught because of their crimes which encouraged them to go onto bigger, more risky endeavors robbing celebrity homes.
Alexis Neiers from “THE TRUE Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist” (Netflix)Alexis Neiers from “THE TRUE Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist” (Netflix)
During her teen years, Neiers’ childhood companion, Tess Taylor, moved in with her and her family. In accordance with Neiers, they both spent the majority of their time smoking weed and doing drugs until Andrea encouraged girls to locate a job. Together, they pursued careers in modeling and per Andrea’s request, Neiers and Taylor worked as pin-up models.
“It’s everything I have been doing my life from enough time I was 14, using my looks and my personality to make money,” said Andrea, who also claimed in the documentary that her daughter willingly chose her profession. “Plus they started to involve some success.”
At only 17 years, girls starred as background dancers in Marilyn Manson’s music video for “Arma-goddamn-motherfkin-geddon,” where they appeared naked behind a thin sheet of cloth close to Manson. Neiers said she and Taylor had been drinking pretty heavily and that the set felt just like a “night-long party.”
“I liked the rush and the excitement. It had been unlike whatever I had experienced,” Neiers recalled. “And I recall just thinking to myself, like, ‘Wow. EASILY can just party like this and obtain paid, we have been golden. That is all that I want for the others of my entire life.”
She added, “You sell your soul to the devil.”
Paris Hilton (Pascal Le Segretain/amfAR12/Getty Images for amfAR)
The duo settled on Paris Hilton as their first celebrity victim once they learned from several gossip sites that Hilton was on holiday in Miami. Per Prugo, Hilton gave off a stereotypical dumb blonde persona which made her “more susceptible to leaving something unlocked.”
Prugo also found an internet site that included a listing of celebrities’ home addresses. The pair used Google Maps to scope out the encompassing trail and terrain of Hilton’s house before breaking and entering via leading door, that was left unlocked. Prugo recalled that Hilton’s house was obscenely large and had multiple photographs of herself in each room. Lee and Prugo spent the majority of their amount of time in Hilton’s closets, stealing her valuables, clothes, jewelry, shoes, sunglasses, spare change and luxury attire. Collectively, the pair stole around $50,000 worth of Hilton’s property.
Following the burglary, the pair went partying at a nearby club where they met Neiers and Taylor. To be able to sustain this newfound friendship, Prugo said he and Lee continued robbing Hilton of more goods sort of using Hilton as their “personal ATM machine.” Between your months of October and December, the pair broke into Hilton’s home around 4 or 5 times.
During one of these brilliant break-ins, Prugo and Lee stole a bag of Hilton’s cocaine. “Her coke was like ‘Scarface’ coke,” Prugo enthusiastically recalled. “That has been the very best coke I’d ever done, After all, just pure, like ‘Fk!’ you understand?”
“We were doing Paris Hilton’s coke. Who the fk can say that?”
Eventually, Prugo and Lee stole most of Hilton’s spare cash that has been stashed in her purses and safe. Realizing that they might be caught once Hilton returned home and that the news headlines would use immediately, they enlisted Lee’s old friend Courtney Ames’ coworker, Roy Lopez and attemptedto frame him because of their crimes. Prugo gave Lopez the main element to Hilton’s residence and he used it to steal two million dollars’ worth of Hilton’s jewelry. The next day, news of Hilton’s home burglary broke out with Lopez positioned because the main suspect.
Orlando Bloom (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Neiers eventually moved in with Prugo and per the latter, first expressed fascination with joining Prugo and Lee.
“This is me and Rachel’s thing,” Prugo said in the documentary. “I didn’t actually want to expand the enterprise. I believe I was smart enough to understand, you need to share more the more folks which are there, it’s less of a profit. So that it was to the next.”
Their next victim was actor Orlando Bloom who, at that time, was focusing on a movie and from his LA home. Prugo said he was thinking about robbing Bloom’s home with Rachel, but Neiers had “begged” him to become listed on. Neiers, however, refuted the claims, stating, “I wasn’t saying, ‘Hey, Nick, the next time you rob a residence, involve me.’ But I was available to the thought of robbing a residence to obtain money for drugs.” She also said she was unaware that the trio were likely to Bloom’s house, adding that she was consuming opiates and Benzodiazepine. But Prugo asserted she was aware and sober.
Prugo and Lee spent the majority of their amount of time in Bloom’s closets, stealing his clothes, a Louis Vuitton computer bag, Rolex watches, cash and accessories. Neiers recalled queasy through the entire burglary while Prugo said she was enthusiastically stuffing her bag with stolen goods.
The next morning, Bloom’s home break-in became public news. Investigators also noted that exactly the same band of teens who broke into Bloom’s house had also broken into Audrina Patridge’s home only a few months prior.
“We felt like criminals in probably the most chic way,” Prugo said. “We felt like we were these, like, maybe sexy bandits committing these intelligent cat burglariesWe wished to be our very own celebrity, simply using other’s shit.”
Prugo said he continued committing these burglaries alongside Lee to market a lavish lifestyle he concocted on social media marketing. On August 23, 2009, the duo, alongside their classmate, Diana Tamayo, broke into Lindsay Lohan’s Hollywood Hills residence and stole approximately $130,000 worth of clothes and jewelry. Unfortunately, Lohan’s security camera systems could actually provide clear footage of the perpetrators’ facial features. Prugo and Lee were eventually arrested after Neiers and Taylor called the Hollywood Police Department and turned them in.
Nicholas Frank Prugo (R) and Courtney Ames (L) flank Prugo’s lawyer Sean Erenstoft (C) as he speaks at the arraignment of Prugo and Ames at criminal court in LA, California on December 2, 2009. (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
Following his arrest, Prugo confessed he and Lee were thinking about stealing from more celebrities, which prompted the LA Police Department to issue search warrants for the accompanying Bling Ring members. Neiers and Tamayo were eventually arrested after police discovered that these were in possession of stolen goods.
Neiers’ court proceedings were publicly documented on her behalf family’s reality tv program, “Pretty Wild,” which she referred to as as an incredibly traumatic experience. Amidst the hoopla, Neiers said that the show’s producers made her reenact and sensationalize key moments from her arrest which greatly took a toll on her behalf mentally and fueled her heroin addiction.
“By enough time I got eventually to jail, I had nothing,” Neiers said in the documentary. “The show was over. At that time, my addiction really was bad and I was literally losing my mind. I simply wished to die. I was done.”
Neiers pleaded no contest to residential burglary and was officially sentenced on, may 10, 2010 to 3 years of formal probation and 180 days in county jail; along with owing $600,000 in restitution to Bloom. She premiered after serving 30 days of her sentence.Currently she’s been sober for 11 years, has two children and works being an advocate for folks recovering from drug abuse.
For Prugo, he dropped his initial attorney, Sean Erenstoft, for attorney Markus Mueller-Dombois and was officially sentenced to 2 yrs in prison on April 15, 2013 after pleading no contest to the residential burglaries of both Patridge and Lohan.
Per the documentary, Prugo happens to be trying to get a certificate of rehabilitation and a Governor’s pardon. He also runs an internet business along with his husband of five years.
“THE TRUE Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist” can be acquired for streaming on Netflix. Watch a trailer below, via YouTube:
Joy Saha is really a staff writer at Salon, covering Culture and Food. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.
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