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Teen sentenced to six months in 'bling ring' celebrity burglary case

Alexis Neiers was a minor player in the ring but took on an outsized role when her reality TV show began airing. Accused of breaking into Orlando Bloom's house, she pleads no contest.

May 11, 2010|By Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times

An 18-year-old woman who pursued fame on a cable TV reality show after being prosecuted for her role in the "bling ring" celebrity burglary case agreed Monday to plead no contest to felony residential burglary and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Alexis Neiers was a relatively minor player in the burglary ring but took on an outsized role when her arrest and prosecution coincided with production of the E! Entertainment reality show "Pretty Wild," about her and her two sisters growing up in the fast lane in suburban Los Angeles as an aspiring Hollywood starlet.

Under the deal with prosecutors, Neiers will be placed on three years probation in addition to the six months in county jail. She also will receive a two-year suspended sentence and must pay restitution to "Pirates of the Caribbean" star Orlando Bloom, whose home was burglarized by Neiers and several others, authorities said.

Neiers — dressed in a black blazer, designer jeans and white shoes — stood with a sullen expression as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza asked if she understood that if she violates the law during her probation, she faces two years in prison. As her sister sobbed in the audience, Neiers was ordered to surrender June 24 and stay 100 yards away from Bloom's Hollywood Hills home.

Bloom was among a dozen high-profile celebrities — including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Audrina Patridge and Rachel Bilson — targeted in 2008 and 2009 by the ring, made up of mostly young women who stole more than $3 million in valuables.

If Neiers had been convicted at trial, she could have received a six-year prison sentence. "We decided it was in Alexis' best interests to take responsibility for her small part in this incident," said her attorney, Jeffery K. Rubenstein. Heavily weighing on that decision was the knowledge that Bloom would have testified against Neiers, he said.

At a preliminary hearing in December, Neiers was identified as one of four hooded people seen on a security video entering Bloom's home. LAPD Det. Brett Goodkin testified that Neiers tried repeatedly to conceal her identity and was seen on the video leaving the actor's home after the 3 a.m. break-in last year, along with two other alleged ring members, Diane Tamayo, 19, and Rachel Lee, 18.

Goodkin testified that investigators found Bilson's Marc Jacobs handbag and Lohan's black and white Chanel necklace in the bedroom of Neiers' younger sister. Neiers had insisted she was intoxicated at the time and unaware that she was involved in a break-in.

Outside the courtroom, Deputy Dist. Atty. Sarika Kim said, "We thought this was a just result. She was part of the group."

richard.winton@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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