Far from Cannes, real ‘Bling Ring’ pieces their lives back together

Alexis Neiers outside a courthouse in 2010.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Three years ago, the hot story in L.A. was the Bling Ring, the fame-obsessed group that burglarized the homes of young Hollywood. The film version of their capers, Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” premiered to much ado at the Cannes Film Festival last week and arrives in U.S. theaters June 14.

What with Coppola and the movie’s stars, including Emma Watson and Paris Hilton, walking the red carpet, L.A. Now readers may wonder what became of the real thieves. Times staff writer Amy Kaufman has the answers in a Sunday Calendar piece that explains how some of the group are trying to rebuild their lives far from the spotlight.

Of the seven Bling Ring members, four did time behind bars and three received probation. Roy Lopez Jr., 31, is working in the oil fields of Texas.


“When I was in California,” he said in a phone interview, “the Bling Ring thing kind of followed me. I went to apply for a job, and some girl was like, ‘You’re the guy from TMZ.’ But out here, nobody knows about it. Even my parole officer was like, ‘Really? You were a part of that? Do I have to worry about ‘A Current Affair’ coming to my office?’”

The ringleader, Rachel Lee, now 23, got out of prison this year and has steadfastly refused interviews.

Meanwhile, Alexis Neiers, played by Watson in the film, has a life a world away from her crack and club-hopping days. After her arrest and a reality TV show, the 21-year-old gave up drugs and drinking, married a man she met in A.A. and has an infant daughter.

“I definitely got carried away,” she said of her past. “It was like, ‘I’m crazy and I’m OK with it. I’m going to walk out of this club, be trashed, TMZ’s gonna be there and I’m not gonna give a ...’”


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