Was ‘The Bling Ring’ real? True story behind Hollywood Heist TV series - who are Tess Taylor and Alexis Neiers

A new three-part documentary, Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, is set to air on Channel 4

Lawyer Sean Erenstoft speaks at the arraignment of  Nicholas Prugo, Courtney Ames and Roy Lopez Jr at criminal court in California in 2009. (Credit ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)Lawyer Sean Erenstoft speaks at the arraignment of  Nicholas Prugo, Courtney Ames and Roy Lopez Jr at criminal court in California in 2009. (Credit ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
Lawyer Sean Erenstoft speaks at the arraignment of Nicholas Prugo, Courtney Ames and Roy Lopez Jr at criminal court in California in 2009. (Credit ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

The Bling Ring, which was made up of seven teenagers and young adults, stole cash and belongings from Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and many more.

But did the young criminals ever face jail time for the burglaries they commited between 2008 and 2009?

Channel 4’s new documentary revisists the story of the Bling Ring and their Hollywood heist.

Find out everything you need to know about the Bling Ring here.

What is the Bling Ring?

The Bling Ring were a group of seven convicted teenagers and young adults in Calabasas, California who broke into the homes of several celebrities.

They were also known as Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch, The Burglar Bunch, and the Hollywood Hills Burglars.

The group consisted of seven teenagers; Rachel Lee, Nick Prugo, Alexis Neiers, Diana Tamayo, Courtney Ames and Johnny Ajar.

It was reported that over fifty homes were targeted between October 2008 and August 2009.

The activities of the Bling Ring resulted in the theft of about $3 million in cash and belongings.

When is Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist on TV?

The first episode of the documentary will air on Channel 4 at 10pm on Monday 25 April.

The next episode will air at 10:05pm on Tuesday 26 April.

The final episode of the three-part series will air at 10pm on Wednesday 27 April.

The Channel 4 series will include interviews with some of the Bling Ring members as well as police and other experts.

Who were the members of the Bling Ring?

Rachel Lee was known as the ringleader of the Bling Ring.

After being expelled from Calabasas High School, she went on to receive a creative arts scholarship from Indian High School.

However, a year later she was fined and put on probation for petty theft after she stole $85 worth of merchandise from Sephora - alongside Diana Tamayo.

Diana Tamayo was student body president at Indian Hills, where she had been awarded a $1,500 "Future Teacher" scholarship.

However, she was known for getting into fights and was also an undocumented immigrant.

The police threatened Tamayo with deportation to get her to cooperate.

The Bling Ring utilised Tamayo’s small size, and during one burglary she crawled through a dog flap to gain access to a home.

According to fellow group member Nicholas Prugo, her entire wardrobe consisted of stolen items.

Like Lee, Prugo also transferred to Indian Hills High School after being expelled from Calabasas High School.

After initially bonding with Lee over their interests in social media and fashion, Prugo got in with her friends - which led him to become hooked on drugs.

He began stealing from his parents to support this addiction.

In the summer after tenth grade (year 11), Lee suggested they burgle the residence of an acquaintance whom Prugo knew to be out of town at the time.

They discovered $8,000 in cash and split the money.

After this, Prugo and Lee began checking the doors of expensive cars parked in their neighbourhood to see if they were unlocked.

Another Indian Hills student, Alexis Neiers, was also in the group.

She claims to have only been involved in one robbery at Orlando Bloom’s house.

However, police found stolen items in Neiers’ possession, as well as her sister Gabrielle and their adopted sister Tess.

Courtney Ames, whose stepfather is boxer Randy Shields, was an old friend of Lee’s from  Calabasas High School.

Ames introduced Roy Lopez and her boyfriend, Johnny Ajar, to the group.

Ajar, nicknamed ‘Johnny Dangerous’, didn’t participate in any of the bulgaries but was recruited by Ames to sell the stolen goods for cash.

Ajar was the son of a career criminal and drug addict - and he had previously spent two years in federal prison for drug trafficking at age 22.

Ames recruited Lopez as a reseller but he was unable to sell most of it.

Lopez is also known to have participated in the burglary of at least one victim - Paris Hilton.

He is alleged to have stolen $2 million in jewellery from Hilton, and carried it out with him in a Louis Vuitton bag.

Who did the Bling Ring steal from?

The Bling Ring’s first celebrity target was socialite Paris Hilton, where Prugo and Lee went alone.

However, later accompanied by other members, the group ended up burgling Hilton’s residence at least five different times.

It was not until Lopez stole nearly $2 million in jewellery, clothing, cash, and other items that Hilton reported she had been burgled.

The group  burgled the home of TV personality Audrina Patridge on February 22 in 2009 - the night of the Academy Awards ceremony.

They took jewellery, her passport, her laptop computer, and custom-fit jeans for her home in Hollywood Hills.

The value of what they took was estimated to amount to around $43,000.

Lee and Prugo were caught on Patridge’s surveillance videos, which she uploaded to her website - but the burglaries continued.

The home of actress Rachel Bilson was burgled by the group three to six times during April and May 2009, amounting to between $130,000 and $300,000 of stolen property.

The group stole so much from Bilson that they had to try to sell some of it at Venice Beach - where they were able to make a few thousand dollars.

The Bling Ring targeted mainly women based on what they wanted to steal.

However, on 13 July 2009, they targeted actor Orlando Bloom’s home because Lee wanted the lingerie of Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr - Bloom’s then-live-in girlfriend.

Prugo, Neiers, Lee and Tamayo accessed the premises by cutting through a security fence.

They stole a large amount of clothing, Bloom’s vintage Rolex watch collection, Louis Vuitton luggage, and artworks - which totalled to almost half a million dollars.

Neiers was high on heroin at the time and was reported as having gone outside to vomit and then urinate in the bushes.

Again, the group targeted Brian Austin Green’s home because, according to Prugo, Lee liked the clothes of his wife at the time, actress Megan Fox.

The group also took Green’s handgun - which police later found in the possession of Ajar.

By August 2009, Lee had moved to her father’s place in Las Vegas.

However, she returned to California to target actress Lindsay Lohan who was her "ultimate fashion icon" and "biggest conquest”.

On 23 August, Lee, Prugo, and Tamayo stole around $130,000 worth of clothes and jewellery from Lohan’s home in Hollywood Hills.

What punishments did members of the Bling Ring face?

Lee served the hardest punishment among the crew - after being ringleader throughout.

After pleading no contest and being sentenced to four years, she only served one year and four months.

Tamayo also pleaded no contest for burglary and served 60 days of community service and three years probation.

Prugo was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading no contest to three counts of first-degree residential burglary.

He was released on probation after one year.

Neiers pleaded no contest to felony burglary charges and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.

However, she only served 30.

She also got three years probation and had to pay a $600,000 fine to Orlando Bloom.

Ames pleaded no contest to having a stolen jacket from Paris Hilton, and was sentenced to three years probation and 60 days of community service.

Ajar, who had already served jail time for a previous crime, pleaded no contest to selling cocaine, illegally possessing a firearm and receiving the Bling Ring’s stolen property.

He did three years in jail.

Finally, Lopez also pleaded no contest to receiving the Bling Ring’s stolen property and he received three years probation.

No contest means ‘I do not wish to contend’ in Latin - it is used instead of pleading guilty or not guilty.

It means the defendant neither disputes nor admits to the criminal charges.