For more than a year, authorities say a crew of 13 men plotted ways to break into the Los Angeles homes of an array of celebrities. The team was often successful, police say, using social media and listing websites to track their targets’ whereabouts in near real-time and locate the homes. They stole cash and possessions from stars like Rihanna, music producer Chief Keef, and Rams wide receiver Robert Woods, police said.
When Los Angeles Police finally caught up to them, most had already been apprehended on unrelated charges.
Police have charged the men — who alleged ties to a South L.A. gang — with counts of felony burglary, home invasion robbery and gang conspiracy, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ten of the 13 men were already in jail when they were charged.
The crew used social media to figure out when the celebrities would be out of town, and real estate applications to learn more about the homes they were invading, L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Richard Ceballos told the Times. They also targeted wealthy Californians — not just celebrities.
Sites like Zillow and Trulia, which publish high-resolution photos and detailed descriptions of the houses, are making these homes increasingly vulnerable, real estate experts say. They also list previous sales prices for the homes, allowing potential thieves to easily target the higher-end properties.
Singer Christina Milian, Dodgers star Yasiel Puig, producer Daniel Fogelman and rapper Curtis Young are also among the celebrities who were robbed. The police say they found a list of a dozen more potential targets, including actress Viola Davis, Laker LeBron James and actor Matt Damon. [LAT] – Natalie Hoberman