4 plead not guilty in LA to celebrity burglaries

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2009 4:55 PM

Four people accused of breaking into the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and other celebrities pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges involving the theft of $3 million in jewelry, designer clothes and other items.

The suspects include 19-year-olds Nicholas Prugo, Diana Tamayo and Courtney Leigh Ames, and 27-year-old Roy Lopez Jr. All four are charged with felony burglary.

A judge on Tuesday ordered a fifth defendant, Alexis Neiers, to stand trial on a felony burglary charge related to a break-in at Orlando Bloom's home. She previously pleaded not guilty to the July break-in.

Prugo faces seven counts of first-degree burglary for break-ins at the homes of stars including Lohan, Hilton, Bloom and Rachel Bilson.

Prugo's attorney, Sean Erenstoft, has asked that his client's case be separated from the rest of the group, arguing that Prugo's statements to authorities already had been used at Neiers' preliminary hearing.

Prugo confessed to detectives about the burglaries and implicated several suspects, according to a Las Vegas search warrant released last month. He placed blame for the thefts on a Las Vegas woman who has not been charged.

Superior Court Commissioner Donald Kennedy denied Erenstoft's motion Wednesday, saying it was premature.

Lopez's attorney, David D. Diamond, denied after the hearing that his client was involved in a break-in at Hilton's home.

Robert Schwartz, who represents Ames, said he couldn't comment in detail about the case until after he reviewed newly provided evidence from prosecutors. Tamayo's attorney, Howard Levy, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.