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Man pleads no contest in ‘Bling Ring’ case
Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A man who had been accused of burglarizing Paris Hilton's home pleaded no contest on Thursday to receiving jewelry stolen from the house during a rash of break-ins by a group dubbed the "Bling Ring."
Roy Lopez Jr. was then sentenced to serve three years of supervised probation.
Lopez, 30, was initially charged with felony residential burglary and conspiring with other members of the ring that targeted the swank, Hollywood Hills homes of stars such as Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom and others.
Hilton's home was burglarized in December 2008, and police were able to return some of her property.
The burglary charge and other counts against Lopez were dropped. Deputy District Attorney Christine Kee said Hilton has opted not to receive restitution in the case.
Much of the estimated $3 million in high-end jewelry, clothes and art that was taken from the celebrities has never been recovered.
"We're pleased that the district attorney was able to work with us on this case and allow Roy to get his life back on track," defense attorney David Diamond said after the hearing.
Evidence in the case supported his contention that Lopez had never been in Hilton's residence, Diamond said.
Several other defendants, including the alleged ringleaders, have taken plea deals to end their cases. The remaining defendant, Courtney Leigh Ames, returns to court on Dec. 14.
Diana Tamayo, who pleaded no contest to burglarizing Lohan's home, might still be required to pay restitution in the case. Lohan has indicated she may seek restitution against Tamayo, but the actress was not available to be in court on Thursday, Kee said.
The case hit a snag recently after it was revealed that the lead police investigator was paid to consult and appear in an upcoming Sofia Coppola film based on the case.
Los Angeles Police Officer Brett Goodkin failed to disclose the work to his superiors and prosecutors ahead of time.
Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler has called Goodkin's actions "stupid and a gift to defense attorneys," but not enough to warrant dismissal of any charges.
Fidler referenced the issue by telling Lopez, "You got a break because of what's happened in this case."
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP
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