A pair of Philadelphia 20-somethings used high-tech identity theft methods to defraud businesses and neighbors of tens of thousands of dollars to support a jet-setter lifestyle that included travel to exotic international spots at the expense of their victims.
Jocelyn Kirsch, a 22-year-old Drexel University student, and Edward Anderton, a 25-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate who was recently fired from his job as a real estate analyst, were arrested Friday afternoon at their $3,000-a-month apartment in one of the city's most upscale neighborhoods, Detective Terry Sweeney of the Philadelphia police department's central detectives division, told ABC News.
Kirsch and Anderton were arraigned Friday on an array of charges, including identity theft, forgery and unlawful use of a computer. The arrest, which Sweeney described as the proverbial tip of the iceberg followed a Nov. 19 report by one of their neighbors, who said she feared she had been the victim of identity theft. The woman, according to police, had received a notice from a local UPS about a package waiting for her from a British retailer that she had never ordered.
University of Pennsylvania police joined officers from the Philadelphia Police Department at the UPS store Friday, and arrested Anderton and Kirsch as they arrived to pick up the item.
A search of their apartment over the weekend turned up evidence of a sophisticated identity theft operation, Sweeney said, including four computers, spyware software, two printers, a scanner and a professional-grade ID card machine.
Police found $17,500 in cash, credit cards, fake driver's licenses and keys that could unlock mailboxes and doors to other units inside their apartment building. They also found a copy of the book "The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims."
The weekend search will likely lead to numerous additional charges, as investigators sift through computer hard drives, Sweeney said. Those charges may include burglary and criminal mischief, and could be elevated to federal charges. At least three more people have already come forward with complaints since the story broke Monday morning, and, according to police, the hard drives of the computers seized haven't even been searched yet.
"We have trips to London, Paris, Hawaii, Turks and Caicos, and Montreal, Canada," Sweeney said, adding that police believe the boyfriend-girlfriend pair has been at work for up to two years, and that they may be responsible for $100,000 in theft. "It's really nice to go on trips when you're not paying for them."
Kirsch and Anderton, who have already been released from custody, will be rearrested on whatever additional charges are filed. It was not immediately clear what attorneys are representing the defendants.
Sweeney said that Kirsch's father came from her hometown in Winston-Salem, N.C., to post a bond and pick up his daughter Sunday. He also said the woman had gotten into some trouble with authorities at Drexel, where she remains listed as a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority.
Neither Kirsch nor Anderton have telephone numbers listed in the Philadelphia directory. A message left by ABC News at the home of Anderton's parents in Washington state was not returned.
A Facebook account created by a Drexel student identified as Niki Vervelli celebrates Kirsch's arrest. Vervelli did not respond to a message from ABC News.
Ian Jacobson, another Drexel coed, posted a comment in reaction to the Facebook group, saying, "and no one believed me when I said she was nuts AND bad news."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.