When Kendall Jenner had $200,000 in jewelry stolen from the bedroom of her Hollywood Hills home in the early morning of March 16, it was just the latest in a recent spate of celebrity home burglaries happening within a roughly 10-mile ritzy radius of Los Angeles.
Among the celebs on this unfortunate hit list: Alanis Morissette, Nicki Minaj, Jaime Pressly, L.A. Lakers player and Iggy Azalea's ex Nick Young, and "dog whisperer" Cesar Millan. Each reported thousands—and in Alanis' case, millions—of dollars' worth of jewelry stolen.
This Hollywood crime wave has celebrities—and law enforcement—searching for answers on how to combat the troubling trend.
"Celebrities are definitely easy targets," celebrity security expert Mark Chinapen, CEO of event services company Big Time Affairs, tells E! News. "Most celebrities are just like most people—they don't think anything will happen to them until something does."
And a rude awakening it's been:
• On Feb. 9, Morissette's house—less than 10 miles west of Jenner's home—was burglarized to the tune of $2 million in jewelry and other items. As was the case with Kendall, Alanis was not at home at the time.
• A week before the Morissette incident, Nicki Minaj also fell victim to a burglary at her palatial rental home in Beverly Hills. The sprawling house was reportedly trashed, with furniture flipped over, clothing cut into pieces and personal jewelry being taken. The estimated loss: $200,000. Nicky, too, was not at home.
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• Just a few days after Kendall's jewelry was stolen, Pressly's L.A. home was broken into while she was away and, according to the LAPD, "a bunch of property" was stolen, including jewelry. "There was a burglary and legal actions are being taken," her rep tells E! News. "Jaime and her family were not at home during the incident."
Chinapen, who has done work with the Kardashian-Jenner family and for Minaj, tells E! News that celebrities have made themselves more vulnerable with their, in hindsight, careless use of social media, sometimes providing minute-by-minute updates that could alert would-be burglars to their whereabouts.
"Every one of these celebrity burglaries happened when they were either out of town or away from their house, and often it is very easy to know where a celebrity is because they tell you on their Instagram and Snapchat," Chinapen says. "I tell all my clients not to be so revealing, to be careful."
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Of course, this was a lesson that Kim Kardashian West learned the hard way when she was robbed in Paris last October, minutes after posting her whereabouts and touting the millions' worth of jewels in her possession.
In fact, sources tell E! News that the issue of personal security became the top priority for the Kardashian-Jenner clan in the wake of Kim's horrifying encounter, with each family member undergoing a total overhaul and a review of their own security. Changes for Kim included letting go of longtime security guard Pascal Duvier, curtailing her social media use and limiting her exposure to the public.
E! News has learned that Kendall, who had been confronted by a stalker on her Hollywood Hills property last summer, fired at least one member of her security team immediately after the recent burglary.
"That was smart," observes Chinapen of Big Time Affairs. "If someone walked into my bedroom and stole my jewelry while security stood watch, that guard should be fired. Not that it was necessarily his fault, but it sends the message that you won't tolerate anything but 24-7 protection."
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Another tip Chinapen offers to high-profile clients: Conduct a background check on every member of your inner circle, everyone from drivers to chefs to house cleaners.
"You don't want to be paranoid, but you do have to protect yourself," he says, adding that he recommends celebrities also install state-of-the-art cameras and alarm systems in their homes. He adds, "You'd be shocked at how many celebrities don't even have alarms."
While the famous can be targeted due to their public display and accessibility, police are still investigating whether the high-profile Hollywood victims are part of a wider burglary ring that has also been hitting residences of the non-famous in Los Angeles.
LAPD Detective William Dunn tells E! News that a special task force was established to investigate home robberies in the affluent section of the Hollywood Hills and adjacent areas late last year, even before the celebrity crime wave began in January.
"A lot of it is random, and they go to nice parts of towns and randomly knock on doors to see if anyone is home and then they go to the back and break in," Dunn says. "One knocks on the door and another one or two break in through the back. They work as a team." He says that at least a quarter of recent burglaries have been of this "knock knock" variety.
The LAPD is certainly familiar with high-profile home robberies.
Back in 2008 and 2009, a team of burglars in their teens and early 20s stole an estimated $3 million in property from the homes of stars such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson and Audrina Patridge. They became known as "The Bling Ring" and Sofia Coppola even directed a 2013 movie starring Emma Watson about their criminal exploits.
The latest crime wave has netted the perpetrators roughly the same amount in property as that infamous band of thieves, with roughly $3 million already reported missing. Are they victims of a Hollywood Bling Ring 2.0? Or, as has been rumored, could some of the incidents be the result of an "inside job?"
Dunn of the LAPD says that while the investigations are ongoing and he can't comment on specifics, they do have a list of possible suspects, some of whom have a history of similar criminal activity in the L.A. area. "This is organized crime, they are very organized," the veteran detective tells E! News. "Burglaries are usually fast— they are out in three to five minutes and most of the time they usually only hit the master bedroom."
The detective says that one thing celebrities can do to better protect themselves is to follow the lead of the social media maven Kim Kardashian West. Indeed, experts say celebs should be hyper-aware that their social postings could function as an unintended "all clear" signal for criminals.
"These guys are young, and they use Instagram," Dunn tells E! News. "They are social media savvy and use that as a tool."
—With reporting by Taylor Bryant and Holly Passalaqua