Police Bust Three Teens and a Mum for String of Celeb Burglaries
They allegedly stole millions of dollars worth of cash and jewellery from celebrities like Rihanna, and were apparently planning to hit LeBron James and Matt Damon next.
Screengrab via the LAPD / Youtube; photo of Rihanna by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
For months, cops have been trying to track down the thieves behind a string of high-profile burglaries in Los Angeles, believed to have ransacked the homes of musicians, pro athletes, producers, and actresses, and burglarized Rihanna's house just last week. Finally, on Tuesday, police announced they had caught the alleged culprits, and much like the infamous Bling Ring of the late 2000s, they busted a few teenagers, who they believe targeted A-list celebrities with help from one of their moms.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the alleged teen crime ring stole from the LA Dodgers's Yasiel Puig, Rams wide receiver Robert Woods, and singer Christina Milian all within the last few months. They wound up jacking millions of dollars worth of property, LAPD Captain Lillian Carranza said at a press conference Tuesday, and are believed to have been behind at least two dozen other burglaries in the area, the Washington Post reports.
According to the cops, the teens drove around bougie LA neighborhoods in fancy cars wearing expensive clothes, blending in while they cased the houses they wanted to hit. They would constantly monitor celebrities' "social media postings and touring or travel schedules," Carranza said, so they'd know when their houses were likely to be empty. Once their victims were out of town, they'd swap cars, change clothes, and break in after knocking to make sure no one was home.
"One burglar knocks on the front of the door, testing the premises to see if anybody would answer,” Carranza said—and if no one did, they'd allegedly sneak inside and make a beeline for the master bedroom, stealing watches, cash, jewelry, and anything else that was easy to grab. “They usually exited the home in minutes, very often taking flight before the alarm company could reach out and notify the homeowner or the police department.”
The LAPD uploaded footage of one of the burglaries to YouTube in late September, after Puig's home security camera caught the suspects breaking into his house while he was out of town.
But the cops finally busted the group after they allegedly robbed Woods's house on Thursday, when a neighbor called 911 to report the heist. Police pulled over their getaway car and saw "what appeared to be stolen property" inside, Carranza said. Later on, investigators found $50,000 in cash inside one of their homes, along with a horde of Rolexes, purses, and other jewelry. They also found a list of other celebrities' names and addresses—which included LeBron James, Viola Davis, and Matt Damon—whom police say the teens might have been planning to target next.
The cops arrested two 19-year-olds—Tyress Williams and Jshawne Daniels—along with 18-year-old Damaji Hall on suspicion of burglary. They also arrested Hall's 34-year-old mother for suspicion of grand theft, the LA Times reports, though it's unclear exactly how she's connected to the heists. They slapped Williams with four felony counts of first-degree residential burglary, which could land him behind bars for up to ten years—but the cops haven't filed charges against any other suspects.
For as supposedly lame and straight-laced as most teens are these days, it sure does seem like a lot of them are into the whole "high-profile crime" thing—though, most of the time, they're rarely any good at it.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.