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Alleged ‘bling ring’ member to stand trial, judge rules

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge found sufficient cause Tuesday for an alleged member of the “bling ring,” which targeted the homes of young Hollywood celebrities, to stand trial for burglarizing actor Orlando Bloom’s Hollywood Hills home.

Judge Darrell Mavis issued his decision after Los Angeles Police Department officials testified that Alexis Neiers admitted entering the actor’s home July 13, that investigators found stolen items belonging to actresses Rachel Bilson and Lindsay Lohan in her Thousand Oaks home and that another alleged burglar identified her in a security video.

Mavis rejected the argument by Neiers’ attorney, Susan Morris Haber, that her 18-year-old client “lacks intent” because she was intoxicated and did not realize what was occurring until she saw others ransacking the house and then demanded to leave.

LAPD Officer Brett Goodkin testified that another alleged ring member, Nicholas Prugo, 18, identified Neiers as one of four hooded people seen on a security video entering Bloom’s Hollywood Hills home. Prugo has been charged with seven burglaries.

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Goodkin said Neiers tried repeatedly to conceal her identity and was seen on the video leaving the actor’s home with bags of items during the 3 a.m. break-in, along with two other alleged ring members, Diane Tamayo, 19, and Rachel Lee, 18. Tamayo has been charged in the case; Lee was arrested in Las Vegas but has not been charged.

LAPD Det. Jose Alvarez testified that Neiers admitted being at the property with Prugo and two other women but claimed that she did not conceal her identity. She said she thought that they were going to the house to recover Lee’s clothing from a friend and that she demanded to be taken home after she became violently ill and vomited outside, Alvarez said.

Although she denied taking property, Alvarez said, she admitted to helping Prugo remove a large leather bag.

Goodkin also testified that investigators found Bilson’s Marc Jacobs handbag and Lohan’s black-and-white Chanel necklace in the bedroom of Neiers’ younger sister. He said most of the more than $3 million in stolen items were recovered from Prugo.

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richard.winton@latimes.com


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