The real life Bling Ring
Sofia Coppola’s teenage caper ‘The Bling Ring’, out this week, details the based-on-true-events tale of a group of fame-obsessed teens who robbed celebs’ LA homes.
Aside from the Emma Watson-factor though, with audiences super keen to see how ‘Harry Potter’s’ Hermione tackles her new adult image, the most intriguing thing about Coppola’s movie is definitely the real-life Bling Ringers themselves.
The group of affluent pals managed to nab around $3 million worth of loot in less than a year – burglarising the homes of such high profile targets as Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan.
It was a crime spree that shocked America, and not just because one the gang’s core members, Alex Neiers, happened to have her own reality TV show.
So, who exactly were the real-life Bling Ring?
Ring leader Rachel at court and actress Katie Chang (Credit: NYdailynews/Rex)
The Bling Ringer: Rachel Lee
Played by: Katie Chang
Called Rebecca Ahn in the movie, Rachel Lee was dubbed the group’s ringleader. After being expelled from Calabasas High School, Lee attended “alternative school” Indian Hills where she would meet most of her future gang. Fellow Bling Ringers claim Rachel was obsessed with reality TV and would rob the houses of celebs when she wanted new clothes. Lee eventually moved to Las Vegas with her father (whose house she reportedly decorated with art stolen from Orlando Bloom), but returned to California for one last burglary - the target being her “fashion icon” Lindsay Lohan. However Lee was anonymously indentified as being involved in the Lohan heist, with the actress’ stolen coat soon found at Lee’s Vegas house. In October 2011 Rachel was sentenced to four years in prison, but released on parole in March 2013 having served just 16 months.
Nick's arrest photo. He'll be played by Israel Broussard (Credit: Eonline/Rex)
The Bling Ringer: Nick Prugo
Played by: Israel Broussard
Known in ‘The Bling Ring’ as Marc Hall, Nick Prugo met Rachel at Indian Hills after he was also expelled from Calabasas. Prugo and Lee bonded over a love of fashion and partying, but it’s believed he soon became addicted to drugs. He reportedly began stealing from his parents to fund his habit, and he and Lee were thought to be routinely stealing from up-market properties and unlocked cars. Prugo later claimed because he and Lee were dressed so well, retailers never questioned where their credit cards came from. Nick was finally identified after his face was caught on CCTV inside Linsday Lohan’s house. In April 2013 Prugo was handed a two year prison sentence, however he received a year’s credit for time already served and was credited a further year for good behavior.