Home Blog HBO's Ringleader details Bling Ring robbery inside Paris Hilton's … – USA TODAY

HBO's Ringleader details Bling Ring robbery inside Paris Hilton's … – USA TODAY


Rachel Lee, portrayed as the brains behind a group of teens who burglarized celebrities’ homes 15 years ago, is speaking out for the first time in a new documentary.
HBO’s “The Ringleader: The Case of the Bling Ring” (Sunday, 9 EDT/PDT, and streaming on Max) revisits the cluster of robberies in 2008 and 2009 that targeted the homes of the rich and famous. The young thieves used social media to determine which stars were away from their Los Angeles-area homes and broke in, nabbing cash, clothes, and jewelry. They looted more than $3 million in goods from Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox and Orlando Bloom.
Sofia Coppola turned the scandal into a 2013 feature and Netflix released a docuseries last September, but “Ringleader” director Erin Lee Carr felt compelled to get Lee’s side of the story. Her participation, however, wasn’t an easy get: “It was a yearlong process of just getting her to agree to do the documentary,” Carr tells USA TODAY.
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Lee describes the first robbery in a scene from “The Ringleader” exclusively on USA TODAY.com. Lee and her former friend Nick Prugo set their sights on Paris Hilton’s home as “a sure shot,” Lee explains.
“If you go into a celebrity home, most likely you’re going to see a lot cooler things or nicer things,” says Lee. “But going up to Paris Hilton’s home, I felt like my heart was going to combust (outside) of me.”
As the anxiety built, Lee and Prugo checked in with each other.
“We were like, ‘OK. Does your heart feel like it’s about to pop out of its chest? Because mine does, too. OK, let’s keep going,’” says Lee. “We were cheerleading each other on. It was because we had each other we could do it.”
They discovered a key under the doormat and let themselves in.
“Being inside the home, it was almost like I was on a set. It didn’t seem real,” Lee recalls in the documentary. “I was like, how is it so perfect? People actually live like this? This is so lavish.”
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Despite her awe, Lee worried about Hilton returning home. “It was like, ‘Get what you … want and let’s go, like now!’ There was so much stress and anxiety behind it,” she says. “It was, before the crime was committed, anxiety, and then when the crime was being committed it was adrenalin, and then when the crime was over I felt so high and clear-headed.”
Carr says she frequently asked Lee why wanted to share her story now.
“She said she just didn’t trust herself” before, Carr says. “She had started robbing these homes from an ego place and she felt like if she were to speak to somebody at the time, it would just be going back to her own bad ways. She’s more settled in her job as a hairdresser now, and she’s out about her life at work. So she finally, finally felt comfortable doing it.”
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