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Read the true story that inspired The Bling Ring
How did a group of teenagers steal more than $3 million in clothing and jewelry from Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and more?
 
Before there was Emma Watson there was Alexis Neiers.
Before there was Emma Watson there was Alexis Neiers. Facebook.com/BlingRingMovie

In 2010, E! Online aired an episode of the reality series Pretty Wild in which the show's central figure, Alexis Neiers, left a tearful, screaming voicemail for Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales. "I'm calling to let you know how disappointed I am in your story," said Neiers. "There's many things I read in here that were false. Like you saying I wore six-inch Louboutin heels to court with my tweed skirt when I wore four-inch little brown Bebe shoes."

But the story in question was about much more than footwear. Alex Neiers' tantrum was inspired by Nancy Jo Sales' 2010 Vanity Fair article The Suspects Wore Louboutins, which recounted the story of the so-called "Bling Ring" — a group of fame-obsessed teenagers who allegedly stole more than $3 million worth of clothing and jewelry from celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Orlando Bloom. Sales' story was adapted into the Sofia Coppola film The Bling Ring, which hits theaters in limited release today.

Before you see The Bling Ring in theaters, refresh your memory by reading the original article that brought this stranger-than-fiction story to the mainstream:

Alexis Neiers told cops that she and Nick Prugo had been drinking at Beso, a trendy bar-restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard, when Prugo got a call from Rachel Lee telling him to come and meet her. It was July 13, 2009. Neiers said she knew that Prugo and Lee — both 19 and former classmates at Indian Hills, an alternative high school in Agoura Hills, an affluent suburb of Los Angeles — had been burglarizing the homes of celebrities. This "included Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Audrina Patridge, and others she was not sure about," according to the L.A.P.D.'s report.

Neiers, 18, said that she was drunk and "not sure what was going on" as Prugo parked his white Toyota on the road by a house in the Hollywood Hills. Later, she said, she would find out that it was the home of Pirates of the Caribbean star Orlando Bloom. Her friends knew that Bloom was in New York shooting a movie; they researched this kind of information on celebrity Web sites like TMZ. They discovered the locations of stars' homes on Google Maps and celebrityaddressaerial.com.

Neiers said that Lee and another girl, Diana Tamayo, 19, got out of Lee's white Audi A4, and the four kids walked uphill to Bloom's residence, a stark, black mansion. Neiers didn't want to go inside, she said, but still she followed. She told police that Prugo, Lee, and Tamayo seemed to be covering their faces with their hoodies, apparently in order to hide from security cameras. Lee cut a section out of the chain-link fence surrounding the property, Neiers said, and the kids crawled through it.

She said they went around the house, checking windows and doors, finally finding an unlocked door by Bloom's pool area. They went inside and the other kids started to "ransack" Bloom's home, according to Neiers. That night, they would allegedly steal close to $500,000 in Rolex watches, Louis Vuitton luggage, clothing, and artwork. "What are you doing? Get me the f--- out of here," Neiers said she screamed. Then she went outside and threw up and peed in the bushes.

Read the rest of the story at Vanity Fair.

 
Scott Meslow is the entertainment editor and film and television critic for TheWeek.com. He has written about film and television at publications including The AtlanticPOLITICO Magazine, and Vulture.

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