Suspects indicted in LA for celebrity burglaries

Friday, July 2, 2010 - 4:18pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Five people accused of burglarizing celebrities' homes now face conspiracy charges after a grand jury issued an indictment against the group.

The indictment, unsealed Friday, details the research and planning that went into the break-ins at the homes of stars such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom and Megan Fox.

The group already faced a variety of charges, but prosecutors opted to present their case to grand jurors rather than having a judge evaluate the evidence during a preliminary hearing. Now, the group could go on trial by November.

They are accused of stealing millions of dollars worth of clothing, jewelry and other luxury items.

The indicted include Nicholas Frank Prugo, who is charged with seven felony burglaries and has been described as a mastermind of the thefts. A 44-item summary of the alleged crimes states that Prugo often developed a "shopping list" of items to steal from the stars.

Also indicted were Rachel Lee, Courtney Lee Ames, Roy Lopez Jr. and Diana Tamayo.

The five pleaded not guilty Friday and agreed to return to court Aug. 12.

A judge raised bail for several of the defendants. Lopez was taken into custody after his attorney said he could not afford to post the new amount, $120,000.

Prosecutor Sarika Kim declined to comment on the decision to present the case to a grand jury. A judge ordered transcripts of witness testimony sealed until at least mid-July.

© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

AP FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2009 file photo, defendant Nicholas Prugo leaves a court hearing in Los Angeles after pleading not guilty to felony burglary charges. Prugo is accused of being part of a ring that targeted the homes of celebrities and stole high-end fashion and jewelry. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, file )


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