The transcripts of their grand jury testimony, obtained by the Associated Press, offer the most detailed account so far of the personal toll that resulted from the rash of celebrity break-ins that victims such stars as Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Audrina Patridge and Brian Austin Green.
All of the stars recounted for grand jurors how they walked into their supposedly secure Hollywood Hills homes to find them ransacked and looted.
Bloom told the same panel how a break-in at his home had left him distrustful of those around him, especially after he realized his carefully hidden collection of watches had been plundered.
between October 2008 and August 2009. One ring member pleaded out and served time; the five others face trial later this year.
The appearance of Lohan, Bloom and four other celebrities in late June before a Los Angeles County grand jury went unnoticed.
Yet their testimony helped indict five young people who authorities claim desperately craved what the stars had and were willing to cut through fences and climb through a doggie door to get.
Lohan’s testimony typified the fear felt by the celebrities whose homes had been targeted:
“That night I went back to the house, I just felt, to be honest, so violated and uncomfortable that I literally packed as much stuff as I could,” Lohan told the jurors, “because it wasn’t about the things that were taken, it was just the fact that someone came into the only private space that I have in my life at this point.”
Green told the jury how the burglary of his home — the last one targeted — was so stealthy that he thought his missing items were simply misplaced.
It wasn’t until a detective called and told him his stolen Sig Sauer handgun had been recovered that he realized he’d been robbed.
Some of the items stolen were eventually returned. But still outstanding are several irreplaceable personal items, including Bilson’s mother’s engagement ring that she gave to “The O.C.” star.
For a while, the actors told jurors, their belongings had been replaced with a sense of vulnerability and dread.
“It took me a while to feel comfortable staying there,” Bilson said of her home. “I wouldn’t sleep in my bedroom for about a month.
“And I was convinced that I needed to sell my house and get out of there, because I was very scared,” she told jurors. “But I’m still there.”
Deputy District Attorney Sarika Kim, who is handling the prosecution, urged jurors to overlook the stars’ wealth and celebrity.
“It doesn’t matter,” Kim told the grand jury in closing remarks. “The fact that you are able to replace property doesn’t matter. And in fact, we heard evidence in this case some of the folks weren’t able to replace any of the property. Some folks lost items of sentimental value.”
“And I think the one thing that was abundantly clear from listening to the testimony of all of the victims was what they lost most importantly was a sense of security,” Kim said.
None of the stars have testified in open court. Bloom likely would have been the first, but Alexis Neiers, who was charged with his break-in, took a plea deal before trial. An aspiring model and reality television star, Neiers served 30 days in jail.
But the celebrities could still take the stand if any of the members of the Bling Ring go to trial. The five remaining defendants had been previously charged and the actors’ grand jury testimony eliminated the need for a preliminary hearing.
The testimony led to indictments for felony residential burglary against Nicholas Frank Prugo, Rachel Lee, Roy Lopez Jr., Courtney Leigh Ames and Diana Tamayo.
All five pleaded not guilty on July 2 and are due back in court on Sept. 20 for a pretrial conference.
Many of the details of the actual break-ins given to the grand jury have been revealed in search warrants and other court filings, but most of the stars have refrained from talking publicly about their losses.
For 40 minutes, Lohan described coming home with her sister early last August to find her rented house in complete disarray.
“My front door wasn’t locked, and it usually always was,” Lohan said. “My alarm didn’t sound, and I usually had to turn it off. And everything that I had was kind of thrown, and everything was pretty much disheveled.”
A fur coat, two paintings and other high-end jewelry and clothing were missing. When Lohan stepped into her closet, she told jurors, she saw her safe had been moved and black fingerprints were on her white walls.
She said that after she packed up what she had left, she never returned to that house. “I don’t ever plan on going back to that house,” she said. “It was like, such an invasion of privacy, and it’s just eerie.”
Bloom, who estimated his losses at half a million dollars or more, said he immediately suspected he’d been robbed by a close friend or someone who worked for him.
“It’s just awful because you are suddenly second-guessing everything,” Bloom told the jury. “You are like, ‘Who has been in my house?’ You know, the value of things kind of fades away. It’s really about who is it, who am I starting to question?”
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star said only some of his items — mostly clothes and one of his prized watches — was ever returned. He testified that clothing of his then-girlfriend, model Miranda Kerr, was also stolen. Bloom and Kerr have since married.
His house, which one detective likened to the “Bat Cave” because it couldn’t be seen from the street or the air, was targeted in July 2009.
Authorities estimate that there is at least $2 million of the stars’ property that has not been recovered.
They suspect that Lee, one of the group’s alleged masterminds, may have hidden the goods before her arrest at her father’s home in Las Vegas.
Lee allegedly offered to return some of the stolen property to detectives in exchange for leniency, according to transcripts and other court filings.
Anthony McCartney covers entertainment for the Associated Press;
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.