A California man accused of participating in a stunningly brazen string of celebrity burglaries said his motivation for continuing the multi-million dollar heists was simple -- peer pressure.
"There was a definite thrill to it," Nick Prugo told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview today, saying that he was "just trying to keep my friends."
Prugo was one of five teens accused of robbing several celebrities in more than a dozen thefts that netted them millions in cash, clothes, jewelry and art in 2008 and 2009. Prugo said it was the reassurance from his friends that kept him not only involved but enthusiastic.
"I don't think any of us realized how severe it was until we actually got caught." he said. "It didn't seem as bad as it was."
"Now that I look back I realize how serious it was," he said. "Looking back, it scares me to death."
Dubbed the Bling Ring, the teens, all female apart from Prugo, came from from affluent neighborhoods near Hollywood, Calif. Their alleged victims included several of young Hollywood's elite, including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom.
"It was a shared responsibility. It wasn't just one person," Prugo said. "I'm trying to take responsibility for my part and just let the world know and the victims know I'm sorry."
He said he now wants to make amends to his victims by cooperating. Despite Prugo's admissions to police and the public, he has pleaded not guilty.
Appearing sincere and smartly dressed in a tie and vest, Prugo told "Good Morning America" that the thefts started out small, with the group hitting cars at first.
"It didn't just come together overnight. This was built up over years, well, a year and a half," he said. "It escalated into homes and then celebrities' homes and it became very big, very fast."
The group allegedly used the Internet to research when the celebrities would be out of town and then track down their addresses. According to Prugo, they would simply check the doors and windows of the home until they found one that was unlocked. Their hits were sometimes called "shopping."
Paris Hilton was deemed their first target because she was "dumb," Prugo said, according to a report by Vanity Fair which hits newsstands today. The key to her front door, according to Prugo, was under the door mat.
The group got away with the robberies until a break in the case came when security cameras at one of the alleged robbery targets, the home of reality television star Audrina Patridge, caught them on tape searching the home. But they didn't stop, even after Prugo said he saw the tape on the local news.
It was a second security camera tape, this time from Lindsay Lohan's home, that gave police a flurry of tips as to the burglars' identities.
Prugo was arrested in September. Police said he confessed, without making a deal, the next month.
"He confessed to crimes we didn't even know he committed," lead investigator LAPD officer Brent Goodkin told Vanity Fair.
Prugo has now come under fire with the very same group of friends he worked so hard to impress.
"They're going to say what they're going to say and if me taking responsibility for my crimes and trying to help out the police makes me a rat then so be it," he said.