Hollywood Heist Docuseries Dives Into the Burglarizing of Celebrity Homes



On April 25th, the UK’s Channel 4 aired Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, a true-crime docuseries about the gang of Calabasas teens who burgled the homes of Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, and other stars between 2008 and 2009, activities resulting in the theft of about $3 million in cash and belongings mostly belonging to Hilton, although they targeted about 50 homes. According to RadioTimes.com, which reported on the three-part series, the Channel 4 documentary features interviews with two of the Bling Ring members: Nick Prugo and Alexis Neiers, who now goes by Alexis Haines. But who is Alexis? And why do people still care about this story ten years later?

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Neiers is the daughter of Mikel Neiers, director of photography for the NBC sitcom Friends, and former Playboy model Andrea. Neiers started to pursue a career in acting and modeling alongside her unofficially adopted sister Tess Taylor at 16, telling Vice that the career was to “sustain [her] drug habit.” Somewhat successful in their goals, Neiers landed a gig in a low-budget film helmed by producer Dan Levy (unrelated to Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy), who then went on to make her an E! Network TV personality, starring in Pretty Wild, alongside her mother and sisters Gabby and Tess Taylor.

Pretty Wild followed the family as they navigated the Hollywood social scene and included moments from the Bling Ring ordeal. At 18, when Neiers was arrested for her part in the Bling Ring burglaries, the first episode of the series documented the events. In court, she pleaded no contest, and in addition to a $600,000 restitution payment, she was sentenced to 180 days in prison — which she served side-by-side with Bling Ring victim Lohan — and three years of probation.

Due to prison/jail overcrowding, Neiers served one month of her six-month sentence. Upon her release, she struggled with a nasty heroin addiction, getting arrested again at 19 for possession and then placed in a rehab where she obtained her Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor certification and became a drug and alcohol counselor at Recovering from Reality.

Related: Rachel Bilson and Tom Sturridge Talk Waiting for Forever

Rachel Bilson Remembers One Detail of Bling Ring Burglary Clearly

ABC

Before the latest documentary about the Bling Ring, other films have portrayed the crimes. In 2011, Neiers, who was renamed Maddie Bishop and played by Spencer Locke, and the other group members were immortalized in a Lifetime made-for-television movie, The Bling Ring. The film also had Jennifer Grey in a supporting role. Then, in 2013, there was another film adaptation, also titled The Bling Ring, by Sofia Coppola, in which Neier’s character was named Nicki Moore and played by Emma Watson. Not only was the detective who worked on the Bling Ring case under investigation for consulting on the Coppola film, one of the Ring’s real-life victims appeared in it, too: Hilton.

In a 2021 interview, another one of the victims, Bilson, clearly remembered one detail of the victimization. The actress’s house is one of the houses that the group hit on more than one occasion, stealing from Bilson five times, and one of the times the thieves were inside the house, they allegedly used her bathroom. The O.C. actress said on the Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrin‪o‬ podcast (via E! Online):

You know, it was kind of crazy at the time. I guess they came into my house five different times and took everything, and even one girl gave an interview. She was like, ‘I got so comfortable going in her house, I took a s–t in her bathroom!’ I was like, that’s more invasive than stealing my purses [laughs]. But yeah, you know, they were young, and hopefully, the others learned as well. Who knows. I mean, that’s all you can hope for at this point.

In Nancy Jo Sales’ 2013 book The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World, Prugo was quoted as saying, “We were in Rachel’s [Bilson’s] bathroom, and Rachel [Lee] just had to go, so she just…yeah. I remember the incident so well. I can recall the smell, which is really nasty, disgusting.”

Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist is available to watch now on Channel 4.

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Rebecca Kaplan
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Rebecca Kaplan (she/he) has a JD and an MS but believes comics do more good than law. His work can be found at Prism Comics, MovieWeb, Geek Girl Authority, PanelxPanel, StarTrek.com and Comics Bookcase, and in Double Challenge: Being LGBTQ and a Minority, which she co-authored with his wife, Avery Kaplan.

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