Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Four charged over celebrity theft

CCTV still from Lindsay Lohan's house
The robbery on Lohan's house was caught on CCTV

Four people have been charged over the theft of more than $3m (£1.8m) worth of luxury goods from the homes of several Hollywood celebrities.

Diana Tamayo, 19, Courtney Ames, 18, Alexis Neirs, 18, and Roy Lopez Jr, 27, all face multiple charges of residential burglary.

Stars including Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox and Paris Hilton were targeted in the break-ins over the past year.

The suspects are all due in a Los Angeles court next month.

Prosecutors also added five additional burglary counts against Nicholas Prugo, 18, who was charged earlier this month with breaking into the homes of Lohan and Audrina Patridge, star of TV show The Hills. He now faces seven counts of residential burglary.

Another suspect, Rachel Lee, 18, has not been charged pending further investigation.

'Adrenaline rush'

Authorities said the five were part of a celebrity-obsessed group who looked at entertainment magazines and websites to track the movements of their victims.

After looking at pictures to decide what items they would steal, including designer clothes and jewellery, they would then use Hollywood maps to locate the star's home.

Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan has reportedly now moved out of her Hollywood home

The group broke into properties through doors, windows and, in one case, a cat flap. Some of the incidents were caught on CCTV cameras.

"They thought it was fun, kind of an adrenaline rush," said Los Angeles police officer Brett Goodkin.

"They would go in and steal the celebrity's clothes and possessions, things they could never afford on their own."

The robberies were driven by "celebrity infatuation and greed," Goodkin added.

The homes of actor Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton, The OC's Rachel Bilson and High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale were also broken into in the series of at least 10 burglaries.

A lawyer representing some of the victims said the crimes highlighted the growing risks faced by celebrities in a world of unending media attention.

"You cannot on a weekly basis publish pictures of the back entrance to someone's house and do stories on their collection of cars and jewellery without increasing that person's vulnerability to theft and harm," Blair Berk said.

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