From multi-million-dollar homes to closets full of designer couture, celebrities have a larger-than-life existence. In fact, on a day out a starlet’s extravagant handbag and rare watch can cost more an average person earns in a full year. Considering their pricey possessions, one would assume their mansion’s security systems are impenetrable and any potential prowler would be foolish to target such a high-profile residence. Shockingly, police recently busted a sophisticated burglary ring specifically targeting Hollywood’s most famous stars.
As 2018 was winding to a close, police were just heating up their case against over a dozen brazen crooks. All under the age of 25, the gang targeted the palatial homes of some of LA’s most famous residents. From singer Rihanna to baseball player Yasiel Puig, a complex scheme was in place to loot cash and valuables from wealthy unoccupied homes. Successful heists left the crew with thousands of dollars, Rolexes and jewelry, among other treasures.
The burglars employed a highly organized approach to their crime, utilizing social media updates, real estate apps and featured articles in magazines, where celebrities often pose for pictures in their homes. Such research allowed the thieves to determine both a general layout of the home and an account of when an occupant was away, as stars often post real-time updates at events and parties.
The team also prowled the surrounding area before their crime, making sure to don fancy clothes and drive high-end cars in order to remain inconspicuous. The criminals would knock first to ensure an empty home before quickly snatching expensive goods and fleeing the scene. In fact at one mansion, several thieves were attempting to drag a heavy safe outside the home before abandoning it.
Authorities caught the group after they were found to have multiple valuables belonging to the celebrities as well as plans for future break-ins to the homes of Matt Damon and Lebron James. All had extensive criminal backgrounds and police cite social media as a major factor in their victim choice.
Of course, this isn’t the first instance of a high-profile celebrity burglary. Kim Kardashian was famously robbed in her Paris hotel room by men disguised as police who tied up the star and stole millions of dollars of jewelry, including her $4 million engagement ring. Much like the recent bust, the thieves monitored her social media and also posed as paparazzi to follow her around.
Though many assume famous stars have state-of-the-art security to match their extravagant belongings, some are shockingly nonchalant about their home protection. The infamous Bling Ring, a group of young celebrity-targeting thieves, recounted their easy entry into famous residences. They found a key under the welcome mat of Paris Hilton’s house and waltzed through an unlocked backdoor of Orlando Bloom’s Hollywood Hills mansion.
Though famous faces are more likely to make headlines, security experts agree anyone could be a potential victim and flashy social media photos only add fuel to the fire.