October 27, 2009 / 7:54 PM / 9 years ago

Hollywood burglars driven by "celebrity worship"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police have arrested six people, mostly teens, on suspicion of breaking into the homes of Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan and other Hollywood figures to satisfy a celebrity obsession and steal from them, authorities said on Tuesday.

“They were rabid consumers of everything celebrity,” Los Angeles police officer Brett Goodkin told Reuters.

He added that the suspects were motivated by “profit and celebrity worship.”

Nicholas Prugo, 18, was charged last week with burglary at the homes of “Mean Girls” actress Lindsay Lohan and reality star Audrina Patridge of MTV show “The Hills.”

Police investigating the break-ins later arrested Rachel Lee, 18; Courtney Ames, 18; Alexis Neiers, 18; Diana Tamayo, 19; and Roy Lopez Jr, 27 on suspicion of burglary.

Prugo is accused of stealing more than $170,000 in jewelry and clothes and faces up to six years in prison if convicted. The others have not yet been formally charged.

Sean Erenstoft, an attorney for Prugo, said his client and Lee attended the same Los Angeles-area high school along with a couple of the other suspects. “Mr. Prugo’s involvement was very, very limited,” he told Reuters.

Aside from Lohan and Patridge, police said celebrity heiress Paris Hilton, “Pirates of the Caribbean” star Orlando Bloom and “The O.C.” star Rachel Bilson were also victims of the burglaries which took place from October 2008 to September 2009.

Hilton’s home was burglarized in December 2008 by a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and gloves, who forced open the front door while she was out. Bloom’s home was broken into in July, and he lost cash and jewelry.

After Patridge’s home was burglarized in February, she posted to the Web surveillance video of a man and a woman rifling through her house.

Blair Berk, an attorney for some of the celebrity victims, told the Los Angeles Times that paparazzi coverage had contributed to the thefts.

“There are only so many shots of a star’s back gate before someone, be it a stalker or burglar, goes through it,” she told the newspaper.

(Editing by Jill Serjeant and Eric Walsh)

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