The Bling Ring: Spoiled Teens Reteach Us Home Security
If anyone has to worry about being broken into, surely it isn’t Hollywood’s celebrities. At least that’s what those of us who don’t have the luxury of ten-foot-tall steel gates and live-in security would probably think.
So when Vanity Fair contributor Nancy Jo Sales broke the story in 2010 about a troupe of teenagers who specialized in looting homes in the Hollywood Hills area, most of us — including filmmaker Sofia Coppola — stood at attention.
In just a year, the group (known as The Bling Ring) made away with nearly $3 million in cash and property from the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom.
It’s not always easy being rich and beautiful.
When it comes to heists of this caliber, you’d think these kids were part of some real-life network of young and savvy thieves like we see in movies like Ocean’s Eleven or Snatch. But they weren’t especially skilled.
And it’s not like they needed the money to pay off some terrifying British gangster (see photo above).
So, how did a handful of spoiled Valley-kids (who were essentially stealing out of boredom) get away with these high-profile robberies for so long?
Keep reading to find out how they went from the vogue world to the rogue world.
The Bling Ring: It wasn’t their first rodeo
The two alleged ringleaders (Rachel Lee and Nick Prugo) actually had a history of breaking and entering into homes that weren’t owned by famous people.
Prugo admitted to scoping out celebrities’ homes for the best way to break in, so they probably did this with their private citizen victims, too.
Those locks are there for a reason
For the most part, these kids entered their victims’ houses unarmed and unequipped, which means their only tools were the cover of night and the unlocked windows and doors their targets left open for them.
In fact, Paris Hilton left her house unlocked often enough for the members to rob her several times—they even took items from an unlocked safe.
They weren’t masters of intrigue because they didn’t need to be. When your targets’ actions are being broadcasted on TMZ, half of the work is already done for you.
They knew when Orlando Bloom would be in New York and when Audrina Partridge would be at the Academy Awards just like anyone else with access to the internet would.
Combine that with the downright crooked nature of websites like celebrityaddressaerial.com and the frightening precision of Google Maps, and you’ve got yourself everything you need to burgle like a rock star.
Or rather, burgle rock stars.
So what does this mean for the rest of us?
Unless there are posters of you hanging on the walls of teenagers’ bedrooms across America, then you’re probably safe from bling-seeking brats like these.
These kids were in it for the thrill of robbing famous people.
But make no mistake—these events are a wake-up call for any homeowner who feels secure enough in their community to simply bypass basic security measures.
Remember, just because you live in a gated community doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who are willing to find a way around that gate and into your house.
In the end, it was the timeless security systems of guilt and ratting-out that landed these kids in the hot seat—though Orlando Bloom’s surveillance cameras certainly didn’t hurt.
If nothing else, this story has taught us to lock our doors more often than Paris Hilton.
Along with the safes behind those doors.
What About You?
How can technology fuel security systems? Google Glass or other iSpy stuff? Tell us your wildest Q dreams in the comments below.
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About the Author
This guest story was written by Cara Giaimo. She writes for the SimpliSafe Blog. Cara covers issues related to home security, crime, safety, tech, and consumer issues. When she’s not writing she’s usually running, jamming with friends, or making some strange type of ice cream.