THE GIOVANNI & PILEGGI hairdresser didn't want to offend her Center City walk-in client, Morgan Greenhouse, who had come in for a hair-extension consultation.
" 'Please don't take this question as insulting, [but] do you have any idea the costs of these extensions?' " the hairdresser recalls asking her.
Her high-fashion client cut to the chase, telling the hairdresser: " 'Don't worry about the money. Money is not an issue.' " The $2,200 quote seemed reasonable, she told the stylist.
On Nov. 29, Morgan came in for her all-day appointment, dressed in True Religion jeans, with violet-colored eye contacts. Her doting boyfriend came in to chat with her and even brought her a falafel sandwich. By the end of the day, Morgan, "who was really social, really sweet," was really happy with her flowing auburn brown locks, said the hairdresser, who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity.
Once she left the salon, on Walnut Street near 19th, Morgan had disappeared, leaving a $2,200 bill on a bogus credit card and two bad checks, and stiffing the stylist out of her measly 10 percent tip, about $250. The vanishing lady, it turns out, was not "Morgan Greenhouse" but Jocelyn Kirsch, a Drexel University student who, along with boyfriend Edward Kyle Anderton, was arrested Friday in an alleged identity-theft scam.
Yesterday, Philadelphia - including the neighboring West Philly campuses of Penn, where Anderton graduated in 2005, and Drexel - was abuzz over the scammers who local cops have dubbed a modern-day "Bonnie and Clyde."
On the social-networking Web site Facebook, popular with college students, someone even started a group about Kirsch, on which someone posted the words: "SHE GOIN' TO JAAAAAAAAIL!!!!"
That result might be OK with the hairdresser. "I pampered someone that completely took advantage of me," she said, adding that she lost a day and a half of pay.
But the cash, the credit and all the fun associated with having lots of it apparently were central to the lives of Kirsch, 22, and her boyfriend and alleged accomplice Anderton, who turns 25 tomorrow.
The two, according to police, "lived the life" on the backs of hardworking people with established credit by traveling the world, living in a $3,000-a-month Center City condo, ordering Godiva chocolates and the latest Apple laptop over the Internet.
"These are two people who have been given substantial gifts in life, a wonderful family, supportive family, a very good education - and the best thing they can come up with to do with it was to create a life of crime," Det. Terry Sweeney of Central Detectives said at a news conference yesterday.
Cops said Anderton and Kirsch were charged with identity theft, conspiracy, unlawful use of a computer, forgery and a slew of other offenses. Police expect to file more charges against the couple and expect the feds to also look at the case.
"We're very curious to see what was on the hard drive that was in the safe," said Lt. George Ondrejka of Central Detectives, referring to three lockboxes confiscated from their Center City apartment. Yesterday, the building's owners told residents that eviction proceedings against the pair have begun.
The handsome couple, who rode horses on the beach during one of their exotic sojourns, apparently come from well-to-do families.
Anderton hails from Everett, Wash., where one of his parents is a physician. Andertonrecently was fired from an analyst job with Lubert-Adler Real Estate Funds.
Police say Kirsch is from Winston-Salem, N.C. Friends say she told them she was born in Lithuania and then moved to California.
Kirsch is a senior majoring in international area studies, according to Drexel. She is a daughter of two plastic surgeons and aspired to be an ambassador, her Drexel classmates say.
She loves to travel and speaks a few languages including Lithuanian and Czech, said a Drexel classmate who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Ian Jacobson, 23, whose best friend dated Kirsch in 2006, said she wanted to be a goodwill ambassador, but that "was inconsistent with the way she dressed and the way she presented herself."
He said Kirsch liked to change up clothes, hair color and contact colors. She changed from blond to brunette to black hair, then to red hair during the time Jacobson knew her, he said. Her eye color also was changing.
"It's not even like karma, it's so much worse than that," Jacobson said of the pair's arrests. "I sincerely hope the repercussions of this will definitely equal the anguish she put her victims through."
Kirsch had been inactive with the sorority Delta Phi Epsilon since 2005 and was "disaffiliated" in March, sorority officials said.
Kirsch and Anderton met through mutual friends in September 2006, said another Drexel classmate. By Christmas, they decided they were going to move in together, which surprised her friends, the classmate said.
Over the holidays, the dashing pair traveled to Paris, where their romantic kiss was captured on camera and featured yesterday on the cover of the Daily News.
They traveled to Hawaii in September, raising more eyebrows because Anderton told friends he had quit his job, the Drexel classmate said. When asked how he was going to pay the rent, Anderton said he had "invested money in stocks," according to the classmate.
The two had planned to vacation in Morocco this Christmas season, the classmate said.
A classmate of Kirsch's received an e-mail from Kirsch yesterday saying: "Eddie got into some serious trouble over the weekend and my family came up to deal with it."
Staff writer Christine Olley contributed to this report.