Four people were arrested in connection with a burglary ring with a list of celebrity targets that authorities say included singers Rihanna and Christina Milian, L.A. Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and L.A. Rams wide receiver Robert Woods.
“Police believe the suspects also planned to target Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, as well as actors Viola Davis and Matt Damon,” The Washington Post reports.
Capt. Lillian Carranza, commanding officer of the LAPD’s Commercial Crimes Division, is quoted telling reporters: “Initially, it was believed these homes were being burglarized at random. However, detectives learned this was not the case.”
“The suspects, Carranza said, belong to a ‘small, specialized group of gang members and associates’ who are believed to be responsible for at least two dozen other burglaries and taking property — ranging from expensive watches to firearms — worth millions of dollars,” The Post reports. “Police also recovered $50,000 in cash from one of the suspects’ homes, Carranza said.”
Authorities also reportedly uncovered a list of potential targets along with their addresses, including James, Davis and Damon. Carranza noted that the people on the list have been contacted and warned.
Police expect additional arrests in the case.
The group reportedly scouted its targets by driving around L.A.’s well-to-do neighborhoods in a luxury car filled with well-dressed passengers, enabling the gang to fit in with the neighborhood.
“Police said the victims were chosen when their social media postings and schedules indicated they would be away from home,” ESPN reports. “Puig has been burglarized four times, including twice last month at his home in Encino. The most recent burglary of Puig also occurred during a game.”
ESPN adds: “The San Fernando Valley has experienced a spate of celebrity burglaries this year, including break-ins at the home of rapper Wiz Khalifa. A former home of singer Post Malone also was hit.”
The ESPN report notes that L.A.-area burglars in 2017 broke into the homes of a dozen other celebrities across the Valley and the Westside. “Those break-ins included the Brentwood mansion of Alanis Morissette, where thieves made off with a safe containing $2 million in jewelry and other valuables,” ESPN reports. “In another incident, nearly $500,000 in valuables was stolen from the home of NBA guard Nick Young.”