Protecting yourself

Bonnie and Clyde, identity theft outlaws

Emily Crone

I am always fascinated when I read a story about someone well-off and educated who has decided to live a life of crime. What makes them abandon legitimate living for the dark side? Why do they steal when they come from a family with money?

Partners in love and crime
Those questions raced through my mind last week when I read about 22-year-old Drexel University student Jocelyn Kirsch and her 25-year-old boyfriend, Edward Anderton, now coined Bonnie and Clyde. They were privately schooled and come from good families, but they are being charged with identity theft, forgery, unlawful use of a computer and more.

In interviews with the Philadelphia Daily News and Sydney Morning Herald, police allege this young couple was living the high life with the money of their neighbors and others.  They reside in a $3,000-a-month apartment in Philadelphia and vacation all over the world. Their fraud scheme is estimated at $100,000 for this just year alone. Even businesses were targeted: Kirsch conned a hairdresser out of $2,200 by paying with a fake credit card and bad checks. Police believe the two have been scheming and scamming for at least two years. (Check out this gallery of images of the couple living it up).

jocelyn-kirsh.jpgAt least it wasn’t a shootout
The duo was arrested after one of their neighbors reported that her identity had been stolen. The post office notified the woman of a package waiting for her, though she didn’t order anything. When Anderton and Kirsch showed up to get the package (lingerie from England), they were nabbed. The mugshots are to the right.

While searching their swanky apartment, police found four computers, an ID card machine, almost 20 grand in cash, loads of credit cards and fake drivers’ licenses and keys to many of their neighbors’ apartments and mailboxes. And a book called “The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and their Hapless Victims.”How apropos. An anonymous police source told a publication that Kirsch’s closet was so chock-full of designer handbags, shoes and clothes, the cops couldn’t even get in.

edward-anderton.jpg Police think the couple broke into neighbors’ homes and stole personal information, and perhaps installed spyware on some of the computers.

Strange behavior
While Kirsch is a pretty girl with a plastic surgeon for a father (who gave her breast implants for Christmas her freshman year of college), she seems to have always been troubled. In this article, former friends say she had an obsession for being the center of attention and loved showing off. She went through friends quickly and was known to have sticky fingers.

Anderton is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania had a job in the financial industry, but was fired. He was known to take tests at school for his girlfriend. He told friends his ritzy lifestyle was paid for by stock investments.

Strangely, former friends say the couple could be unusually stingy. Someone said they went to a movie together, where Kirsch and Anderton bought tickets ahead of time and demanded repayment from the other couple, and brought popcorn and soda cans in bags from home. A spa owner says Kirsch and Anderton demanded a discount after an expensive treatment, saying it was not as long as promised.

Facebook fame
I found an entertaining Facebook group called “Jocelyn Kirsch is scandalous.” The group’s creator invites people who know Kirsch or the couple to share their stories and feelings. The main picture is of Kirsch looking seductively at the camera with lusty cleavage. A large gallery of pictures of Kirsch has been added, as well as a link to her Webshots album. There are currently 389 members in the group, and on the wall and discussion board people recount past encounters with Kirsch and ponder what the sentence will be. A former friend notes that she and Kirsch were counselors together at a summer camp, and Kirsch was kicked out for stealing from campers. Even Kirsch’s former best friend weighs in on this modern-age Bonnie and her Clyde. Sadly, nobody had anything nice to say about her except that she was hot.

This post on the group’s wall from a John Kruger is a good way to go out: “There is a rumor circulating that they posted as a couple on sites like Craigslist to meet couples, have sex with them and steal their information to use. Just another twist I guess. I can already see the made for TV movie on this. I guess the only thing left is to see which one has the better lawyer and which one cuts a deal selling the other out and saying they were coerced. I will bet she cuts the deal and he takes the brunt.”

P.S. Here’s an article about how to prevent yourself from becoming a fraud or identity theft victim.

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