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By Sydnie Stern
“The Real Bling Ring, a 2022 Netflix docuseries, is an intimate conversation with several now-adult criminals involved in Hollywood’s most notorious teenage heist.”
A string of multi-million dollar burglaries, masterminded by Valley teenagers and 20-somethings, shocked the planet in 2009. Exclusively targeting celebrity residents such Paris Hilton and Rachel Bilson, the crime was motivated by a shared desire for a piece of luxury. Known in pop culture as "The Bling Ring", Rachel Lee, Nick Norgo (then Prugo), Alexis Neiers (then Haines), and several other accomplices used Google Maps to orchestrate their heists. The stranger-than-fiction story of unsophisticated robbers, who regularly visited Hilton's Calabasas mansion to stock up on designer goods, materializes on screen for a second time in 2022.
The Bling Ring inspired Sofia Coppola's 2013 indie film, arguably the most recognizable associated media production, titled after the group's moniker. Netflix revisits the events with previously undisclosed details in a new three-part docuseries, The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist (directed by Miles Blayden-Ryall), featuring separate interviews with the now-adult perpetrators. Ringleader Norgo reflects on his uninhibited adolescence, recalling a costly habit of night-clubbing. Norgo admits that quick cash was a recurring motive, confessing, “Once we needed more, we would just go back to ‘work.’”
Though their versions of history conflict repeatedly, both Norgo and Neiers recall their first introduction through a mutual friend. Rachel Lee, who declined to be interviewed for the show, was a fashion-forward alternative school girl with a devil-may-care attitude. According to Norgo, she was the one who suggested their first invasion. Within the course of eight months, their violations transgressed from stealing unlocked cars in the suburbs to looting half a million dollars of Orlando Bloom’s Rolex watch collection, upscale artwork, and custom Louis Vuitton luggage in July 2009. After a paranoid Neiers tipped off police of Norgo's involvement, consequently incriminating herself as an accomplice, the Bling Ring found themselves facing prison sentences.
The Real Bling Ring certainly isn’t an attempted character redemption of these fame-obsessed LA kids, but regardless is completely worthwhile. Norgo and Neiers’ entertaining recollections culminate in a glamorous Greek tragedy, birthed in and for Hollywood.
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