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When kids talk about going into the family business, who knew it meant robbing homes of high profile celebrities?
Evidently, that's the new trend in Los Angeles, where four people were recently arrested for burglarizing the homes of potentially dozens of celebrities over the last several months. Two of those arrested are a mother-son dynamic duo. Stolen property totaled in the millions of dollars, and victims include Rihanna, LA Rams Robert Woods, and LA Dodger Yasiel Puig, among others. Police also found plans to burglarize a dozen others, most notably Viola Davis, LeBron James, and Matt Damon.
We've all heard it before: don't put your vacation pictures up on social media until you return, because you can signal to unsuspecting thieves that you are out of town. But celebrities don't exactly have that luxury, as their travel plans are always published, both personal and professional. That leaves them exposed, and one group took advantage.
Police believe a small group of gang members and their associates used social media and published dates to determine when a target's home would be empty. They would scout the home wearing button-down shirts and driving luxury cars.
Once a time was established, one suspect would knock on the front door. If no one answered, multiple suspects would descend upon the residence, in a process the group called "flocking," wearing hoodies and driving vans, enter the house, and take as much as they could carry within minutes, including designer purses and handbags, jewelry, and cash. They would then flee the residence before the alarm system could contact the police and homeowner.
The suspects were caught during a vehicle stop in South LA, after they had just ransacked Woods' home. The four suspects include three men arrested for burglary: Tyress Lavon Williams, 19; Damaji Corey Hall, 18; Jshawne Lamon Daniels, 19. Hall's mother, Ashle Jennifer Hall, 34, was arrested for grant theft in association with stolen property and a firearm. Police anticipate more arrests in the coming weeks.
Using social media to target celebrities is not new to the LA scene. This scenario usually plays out regularly, including the early part of 2017 with victims such as Alanis Morissette, Nicki Minaj, Kendall Jenner, Emmy Rossum, and Jaime Pressly. And then there was the string a decade earlier that formed the basis for the "Bling Ring" movie, with targets including Rachel Bilson, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Audrina Patridge.
If there's one lesson we've recently learned, it's that there is no security on social media. A thief can hack an account, find the address of a vacationing victim, and steal valuables within minutes. Try to resist the urge to post photos while still on vacation, no matter how Insta-awesome that trip may be.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.