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Bling Ring leader taken into custody pending sentencing

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — The alleged mastermind of the Bling Ring celebrity burglary scheme is back behind bars after the security for his $200,000 bond was withdrawn.

Nicholas Prugo, 21, was taken into custody Sunday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He has been out on bail pending a hearing in May, when he is expected to be sentenced to two years in prison. A previously posted bond of $200,000 was withdrawn before his arrest on Sunday.

Prugo has already pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree residential burglary in a deal in which he will testify against three other members of the Bling Ring, prosecutors said.

The Bling Ring case has already been made into a TV movie and Sofia Coppola is shooting a big-screen version in Los Angeles starring Emma Watson.

The ring of teens and twenty-somethings is accused of nabbing more than $3 million in jewelry, designer clothes and accessories in 2008 and 2009 when they targeted the homes of Orlando Bloom, Brian Austin Green, Megan Fox and Paris Hilton, as well as Lindsay Lohan and Audrina Patridge.

Prosecutors will ask that six other charges — one felony count of conspiracy to commit burglary and five counts of first-degree residential burglary — be dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Prugo is expected to be sentenced in May to two years in state prison.

The deal, prosecutors said, requires him to cooperate fully in testifying against three others who have pleaded not guilty: Diana Tamayo, 21; Courtney Leigh Ames, 21; and Roy Lopez Jr., 29.

Another alleged ringleader, Rachel Lee, 21, was sentenced to four years in state prison in October after she pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree residential burglary.


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