The bling ring teens set their sights on Hollywood's big stars...and their vacant homes.
In a new Netflix docu-series, we sit down with two members of the crew who went on a burglary spree from 2008 to 2009. The string of robberies resulted in nearly $3 million in stolen possessions from stars like Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton and Audrina Patridge. These crimes caused a media firestorm, to say the least, and even a film from Sophia Coppola that starred Emma Watson.
Now, this new true crime project from the streamer offers the infamous scandal from the perspective of those who lived it. What is the Bling Ring true story and what happened to those teens who stopped at nothing for a taste of attention?
The key players were best friends Nick Norgo (Prugo) and Rachel Lee, who began "checking doors" in Los Angeles, going from car to car to see if any vehicle was open and had valuables inside.
These illicit activities certainly had benefits for the youngsters. When social media began to pick up and fame took on a new meaning, Nick and Rachel upped the ante and researched celebs' addresses, striking when the stars were gone, walking away with a killing in the process. In time, they allowed friends and acquaintances Courtney Ames, Diana Tamayo, Roy Lopez Jr. and Alexis Haines, née-Neiers, to partake in the robberies as well.
But the internet used to access private information came back to haunt them. Once security footage was revealed, it was hard to miss the teens posting photos on Facebook in Orlando Bloom's hat and glasses and holding Rachel Bilson's mini bags.
Bling Ring: where are they now?
In the film, we only hear from Prugo and Neiers, both of whom have different accounts on involvement and the real reason they were pushed to commit these felonies.
When the crimes took place, Prugo was a former Zoey 101 actor with a hankering for more time in the spotlight, and it appeared he'd do anything to get there. He was sentenced to two years in state prison, even though he was once eligible for up to 48 years behind bars. Ultimately, he served only one year in county jail.
Now, he is currently applying for a certificate of rehabilitation and a Governor's pardon, according to Netflix. He and his husband of five years run an online store, Norgo Essentials (opens in new tab) according to Instagram.
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Haines is now a mother of two, but when we first learned about her nearly 15 years ago, she and her sisters and mother were vying for a chance of fame with their own reality show at E!, and the scandal unfolded on camera. The crimes, coupled with addiction and a desire to make it in entertainment, was not a good recipe.
"Burglarizing a home is obviously not ok," she says at the end of the film. "But what drove us was, in part, this societal pressure to be a certain way. These narrative that we were just these celebrity-crazed, self-obsessed teenagers absolutely relieves any onus on the culture and the society that created that obsession in the first place."
She served a little over one month of a six-month county jail sentence for burglarizing Orlando Bloom's home. Subsequently, she was sentenced to one year of treatment at SOBA Recovery Center.
As of today, the proud mother runs a podcast called Recovering from Reality (opens in new tab) and hosts a "life reset course (opens in new tab)." In a candid 2021 interview with US Weekly (opens in new tab), she claims that she wants to use her experiences to help others.
"I take calls at midnight from people who need help," she told the outlet. "I was a drug addict who messed up her life. And thankfully, decided to turn it all around."
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But the main schemer behind this whole ordeal, Rachel Lee, appeared to be the one who got the ball rolling. Netflix states that its team reach out to her, but she chose not to comment on the scandal.
Lee spent 16 months in jail, according to The Sun (opens in new tab). After completing cosmetology school in 2018, she allegedlly has a TV screen play in the works.
Other members of the group received their own punishments: Courtney Ames, who has tried to elude the spotlight since the crimes, and Diana Tamayo Ames, now a happily married trainer, were sentenced to probation time and community service. Roy Lopez Jr. was sentenced to three years probation, The Sun further reports.
The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist hits Netflix on September 21. You can stream 2013's Bling Ring on Paramount+.
Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment.
The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets.
When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)
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