Nicholas Prugo, one of the "masterminds" of a group dubbed the "Bling Ring," has pleaded no contest after being charged with burglarizing the homes of Lindsay Lohan and "The Hills" star Audrina Patridge, prosecutors say.
Prugo, 21, made his plea at a Los Angeles court on Friday, March 2. He was ordered to return on May 4 and is expected to be sentenced to two years in state prison for two counts of first-degree residential burglary, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com, adding that a restitution hearing will be held at a later date.
The reported burglaries were carried out between September 2008 and August 2009. More than $3 million worth of jewelry, designer clothes and accessories were reported stolen from the Hollywood Hills homes of Lohan, Patridge as well as Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and celebrity couple Brian Austin-Green and Megan Fox. None were inside their houses at the time of the reported break-ins.
The case has inspired a film. Sofia Coppola is set to direct the movie and British actress Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" films has been cast in the project, it was reported earlier this week.
Prugo was first charged in October 2009. He was personally accused of helping to steal $128,000 worth of merchandise from Lohan's home the previous August and about $25,000 worth from Patridge's house.
He had masterminded the burglaries with Rachel Lee, who is also 21. She began a four-year state prison sentence in October 2011 after pleading guilty to the burglary of Patridge's home.
Three more people, Diana Tamayo, 21; Courtney Leigh Ames, 21; and Roy Lopez, Jr., 29, have been charged as well and have pleaded not guilty. They are set to return to court on April 6 for a pretrial. All members of the group, dubbed the "Bling Ring," live in the Los Angeles area.
"As part of today's plea, Prugo agreed to cooperate fully and to testify truthfully against the remaining three defendants," the District Attorney's Office said. "If he fails to cooperate, [the prosecutor] said the plea will stand, but he will face the maximum seven years, four months in state prison."
"In exchange for today's plea, prosecutors will ask that one felony count of conspiracy to commit burglary and five counts of first-degree residential burglary against Prugo be dismissed when he is sentenced," the office added.
Lindsay Lohan: Jail neighbor
Another accused "Bling Ring" member, Alexis Neiers, a 20-year-old reality star who appeared on the E! show "Pretty Wild," spent about a month in jail in 2010 after pleading no contest to burglarizing the home of actor Orlando Bloom in 2009. She was sentenced to one year in a drug treatment center after being found with black tar heroin.
In July 2010, during the last few days of Neiers' time behind bars, Lohan herself was housed in the same jail. They were both placed in protective custody and had no contact with each other, E! News reported, quoting Neiers as saying that she could hear Lohan crying soon after she was brought into the facility.
The actress was sent to jail for violating the terms of the probation she was given for a 2007 drunk driving and cocaine possession case. The actress had missed a mandatory hearing because she was in France to attend the Cannes Film Festival and did not appear at several of her court-mandated alcohol education classes. (See photos of Lindsay Lohan's mug shots and pictures of her in court over the years.)
After five stints behind bars over the past five years, Lohan, 25, has been receiving glowing probation reports in recent months. She is meanwhile trying to make an stay sober and make an acting comeback. The actress is set to appear on "Saturday Night Live" this Saturday. Check out a sneak peek video.