bling ring
Image from the 2013 film The Bling Ring which was based on the real-life gang of thieves

A spate of burglaries targeting celebrities in exclusive neighbourhoods in Los Angeles is being investigated by police – bringing back memories of the infamous Bling Ring gang, who made away with $3m (£2.2m) of cash and valuables.

Real Housewife Kyle Richards, baseball star Yasiel Puig, singer Mariah Carey and musician Jason Derulo have all reportedly been targeted by burglars in the area in the past few months.

Richards was away with her property mogul husband Mauricio Umansky in Aspen, Colorado, when their $8m home in Encino was burgled last week.

The thieves reportedly got away with more than $1m in jewellery, including $150,000 worth of watches.

The previous month saw Puig's San Fernando Valley home burgled as he was away playing for the LA Dodgers in the World Series.

While losing $500,000 of jewellery during another burglary earlier in the year, this time the raid only left him $150 out of pocket.

And in October, Carey's Beverly Hills mansion was targeted in a $50,000 raid, while a group of thieves who broke into Derulo's pad in Tarzana made away with $600,000 in jewellery and about $80,000 in cash.

Last year saw a spate of other burglaries targeting celebrities in Los Angeles, including "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan, rapper A$AP Rocky and singer Alanis Morissette.

Police don't believe the break-ins are the work of another Bling Ring-style gang, however – but instead numerous professional thieves who have mastered being able to target weak points in home security.

The Bling Ring, whose criminal escapades were the basis for the 2013 film of the same name starring Emma Watson, were a gang of eight teenagers and young adults who burgled the homes of celebrities.

Their nearly one-year spree in 2008 and 2009 resulted in the theft of about $3m worth of belongings. They were caught in 2009, with ringleader Rachel Lee spending a year and four months in prison.

Law enforcement sources told celebrity news site TMZ that a number of the recent break-ins had been through second floor balcony windows, where many homeowners don't put alarms.

Officers have also blamed recent efforts to address prison overcrowding in California by releasing non-violent criminals – including many burglars – for the apparent spike in property crime.

LAPD statistics released last month show property crime rose for the third year in a row – up 1% over 2016.