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Ex-pals : Kirsch a 'troubled' girl

JUDGING FROM her reaction, Jocelyn S. Kirsch may have received the best Christmas present of her life in 2003.

Her father, Dr. Lee Kirsch, a plastic surgeon from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, shipped her a package containing a pair of silicone breast implants, she told her fellow Drexel University dorm residents. Kirsch, then a freshman, said it was her father's Christmas gift.

Kirsch quickly showed off the implants on her dorm floor, according to classmates familiar with the story.

"She was the type of person who'd be, 'Oh, look at my $1,500 bag,' " said Sallie Cook, one of Kirsch's former friends.

Another former pal, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "She was obsessed with being the center of attention."

At least until her alleged crimes became national news.

Kirsch, who, with her boyfriend Edward K. Anderton, was arrested Friday for identity theft, avoided all eyes by quietly turning herself in to law enforcement officials at Philadelphia Police Headquarters at 8th and Race streets.

Kirsch and Anderton, who surrendered separately at the 3rd Police District, in South Philadelphia, and was later transferred to Central Detectives, are expected to be charged with burglary and theft. They were scheduled to be arraigned overnight.

The digital-age Bonnie and Clyde are slated to appear at a preliminary hearing this morning in Common Pleas Court.

They are accused of stealing the identities of at least five victims, including some of their neighbors at the Belgravia, on Chestnut Street near 18th. The crafty couple are believed to have broken into some of their neighbors' residences and taken personal information, police say. Kirsch and Anderton, a 2005 University of Pennsylvania graduate with a degree in economics, may have installed spyware in some of their neighbors' computers to collect their data, police said.

On Friday, they were arrested when they went to a UPS Store in University City to pick up some lingerie shipped from England. The credit card used to open the mailbox at the store was actually in a neighbor's name. Anderton and Kirsch were charged with identity theft, conspiracy, unlawful use of a computer, forgery and other crimes.

The twenty-somethings "lived the life" fully before they were caught - globe-trotting to exciting locales, pampering themselves at local upscale salons and hitting the town with friends.

Nonetheless, they made sure to count every penny - despite their privileged background and the free-flowing cash from their alleged identity-theft scheme.

Cara Solomon, owner of the upscale spa Body Restoration on Walnut Street near 16th, said the duo came in Feb. 17 for 80-minute aromatherapy massages.

They got their $100 service, but when it came time to pay, Anderton complained that the session was too short and demanded a discount, Solomon said.

Kirsch "was in the corner, almost seemingly embarrassed by his arguing with us," Solomon said. The owner relented and let them pay $75 each, which was put on a credit card in Anderton's name.

Solomon made a note under their names in the spa's computer: "Do Not Book."

More recently, the couple, who met in September 2006 through mutual friends, went out with Cook and her fiance on Nov. 24 to see "American Gangster" at The Bridge in West Philadelphia, Cook said.

The suspects pre-ordered the tickets from the theater and immediately began hinting to Cook and her fiance that they owed them money for the tickets, said Cook, adding that she and her fiancee didn't have cash on hand. They offered instead to buy concession snacks for them.

No thanks, the suspects said, according to Cook. They had their own food.

"They popped their own popcorn at home and brought it in in Ziploc baggies," she said, chuckling a bit at the memory. They also brought a bottle of water and a bottle of soda.

Two former friends say Kirsch didn't visit home much, hanging around Philadelphia for Thanksgiving or going away to Paris over the Christmas break. She also tended to change friends every year she was at school.

By senior year, Kirsch had no contact with any of her freshman friends who, perhaps, had seen her body before her father's Christmas gift. She also took down any photos on her Facebook page from before her sophomore year, said the two former friends.

Scott Sexton, the metro columnist for the Winston-Salem Journal, interviewed Kirsch's high school friends who described a troubled young woman with a penchant for lying and for sticky fingers. Their stories were similar to Kirsch's Philly and Drexel friends.

The 2003 graduate from Reynolds High School is believed to have stolen items ranging from sun glasses to cell phones from students or their parents' homes, Sexton said.

"For at least as long as I knew her, Jocelyn was a very unhappy and unfulfilled person and was always trying to find the next thing to make her feel a part of something, whether that meant a new image, a new job, new things or a new boyfriend," in the process hurting a lot of her friends, Kate Agnelli, a friend from high school, told the paper.

"I can tell you all the terrible things she did in high school . . . or I can just say that Jocelyn Kirsch is obviously a very sad young woman," Agnelli said.

The friend's mother - Kathleen Agnelli, of Winston-Salem, said Kirsch's parents are divorced. Jocelyn's mother, Jessica, was a nurse and had worked with Dr. Kirsch.

Jessica Kirsch had remarried and moved to California, probably while Jocelyn was in high school, Kathleen Agnelli said. *

Staff writer Gloria Campisi contributed to this report.