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Burglar steals Paris Hilton jewelry

Bedroom 'ransacked,' items worth $2 million stolen, police say.

December 20, 2008|Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein

LAPD detectives were hunting Friday for a thief who made off with an estimated $2 million worth of jewelry after ransacking the Mulholland Estates mansion of socialite Paris Hilton in a brazen overnight burglary.

In what may be one of the city's highest-dollar home break-ins this year, a security guard called police shortly after 5 a.m. Friday to report a burglary at Hilton's house in a gated community nestled in the hills of Sherman Oaks.

The guard reported a burglar "wearing a hooded sweat shirt and gloved" entered the home and "ransacked her bedroom," said Los Angeles Police Officer April Harding. LAPD officials said the suspect or suspects snatched jewelry worth around $2 million from the home in the 3300 block of Clarendon Road before fleeing.

Detectives believe the burglary occurred some time between late Thursday evening and 4 a.m. Friday.

The individual does not appear to be a professional burglar based on the investigation so far, law enforcement sources said.

Police said that Hilton was not home at the time of the burglary and that the house is equipped with a security system. In addition, the gated community has its own security force that police said was helping them to identify the burglar.

"I expect we'll be able to apprehend the culprit here based on some of the information we have," said Deputy Chief Charlie Beck, head of the department's detective bureau.

In initial public statements the department said the burglar broke open a locked door. But sources close to the investigation say the burglar may have entered the house by other means.

LAPD commercial crimes detectives flooded the neighborhood Friday, interviewing neighbors, security officials and others.

LAPD sources said they have not ruled out that the suspect may be familiar with the mansion and neighborhood.

Investigators said they do not believe the incident is connected to a string of burglaries in recent years that have targeted celebrities and the wealthy in the Westside and Hollywood Hills.

In those cases, men clad in black and wearing ski masks and gloves hit more than 70 homes in areas such as Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills and the hills above Encino, usually at night and often on weekends.

Victims in those burglaries included former Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing and her Oscar-winning director husband, William Friedkin; Clippers basketball star Cuttino Mobley; Duran Duran bassist John Taylor and his wife, Juicy Couture co-founder Gela Nash-Taylor; and country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Friday's incident was not the first time Hilton has been the victim of a burglary. In 2004, several thousand dollars in jewelry, money and other valuables were taken from a home she shared with her sister, Nicky Hilton.

Hilton acquired the 7,500-square-foot Mulholland Estates property last year for more than $5 million. In October, she took talk-show host Ellen Degeneres on a televised tour of the estate, which includes numerous portraits of Hilton, a stripper pole and an array of immense chandeliers.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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