LA gang Crips are 'flocking' Hollywood celebrity homes in burglaries

Greg Milam, US Correspondent

Police in Los Angeles say members of a single gang may be responsible for a string of burglaries on homes of celebrities, using a tactic known as "flocking".

Pop stars Nicky Minaj and Alanis Morissette are among the victims of break-ins which have netted the burglars jewellery and valuables worth millions.

Gang members "flock" to expensive neighbourhoods and search for unoccupied properties before breaking in. Police say the gang members wear smart clothing and drive luxury cars so as not to draw attention to themselves.

Actress Emily Rossum became the latest victim of the gang when jewellery worth $150,000 (£120,000) was taken from her home. She later tweeted her thanks to police.

Morissette had jewellery worth around about $2m (£1.6m) taken from her home in the Brentwood neighbourhood. Sports stars Nick Young and Yasiel Puig have also fallen victim.

Investigators believe most of the burglaries are being committed by members of the Rollin' 30s Harlem Crips, a street gang from south-central Los Angeles.

Sgt Michael Maher, a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's specialised burglary task force, told the Associated Press: "They don't take televisions or laptops or iPads. Typically, it's a hunt for cash, jewellery and weapons."

He said gang members have told investigators they aim to make as much as $10,000 (£8,000) a day from burglaries and use the proceeds to support gang activity and pay bail for members who have been arrested.

"These gangs have become more sophisticated, and flocking is a large portion of that. We see high-level gang members driving extremely expensive vehicles, wearing very nice clothing, committing residential burglaries."

So far no arrests have been made in connection with the burglaries.

The case has brought back memories of the exploits of a gang of teenagers who stole $3m (£2.4m) in cash and valuables in a 10-month crime spree on celebrity homes in the Hollywood Hills in 2008.

The story of the so-called "Bling Ring" was turned into a movie directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Emma Watson. It also featured an appearance by Paris Hilton, who had been a real-life victim of the gang.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes