Valentine’s Day plans this weekend? If you’re undecided, you could do worse than consider a trip to Byblos, the hookah bar near 18th and Sansom. One of Philadelphia’s most famous couples used to spend lots of time and money there — until local and federal authorities got in the way.
Their real names were Edward Anderton and Jocelyn Kirsch, but soon everyone knew them as Bonnie and Clyde. Kirsch was a Drexel student in her last year of college. Anderton was a Penn graduate who worked as a financial analyst. In 2007, they stole over $100,000 from people, directly from their apartments or by taking their identities or setting up fake credit cards, and used the money to make lavish purchases in Philly and trips abroad. They were arrested in late 2007 and pleaded guilty to several fraud-related charges in 2008, serving time in prison for about three years. The media dug deep into the story, from local newspapers like the Daily News, which gave them the nickname Bonnie and Clyde, to national publications like Rolling Stone.
The tales about Byblos were chronicled in the pages of the March 20, 2008 issue of the magazine. Sabrina Erdely, the Penn alum who made national headlines last year when her article about campus rape at the University of Virginia was retracted, described a life of luxury made possible by fraud. At Byblos, Erdely wrote, “They became fixtures….Jocelyn would come in wearing a bustier and a miniskirt then spend the night getting hammered, dancing on tables and vamping it up with a hookah pipe between her lips — all while photographing herself and Ed, who’d be nibbling on her neck.”
They traveled all over the world but made Philly their playground, too. They had a condo at the Belgravia, located near 18th and Chestnut. Police at the time said they stole their neighbors’ money and identities, with damages totaling $100,000. They were amateurs. Amid four computers, a machine for making ID’s and $17,500 in cash found in their apartment, police discovered the book “The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims” and a student newspaper article about spotting fake ID’s.
The police caught them at a UPS Store on the Penn campus. A neighbor of Bonnie and Clyde had reported to police her identity had been stolen and then she received a call that a package she never ordered was waiting for her at the UPS location. The police staked it out and arrested them when they were picking up the package.
So, eight years later, what are they up to?
Kirsch moved away, but apparently didn’t stray too far from her days of theft and fraud in Philadelphia. She was arrested for shoplifting in 2014 in California and sentenced to five months in prison because it violated her probation. Her lawyer, Ronald Greenblatt, said in court that a struggle with depression, anxiety and the media attention from her original case had contributed to her decision to steal again. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, she was released on August 2 of that year. Her attorney declined to comment.
Anderton has moved entirely out of the spotlight since his imprisonment. The last address associated with Anderton is in Washington, where his family lived. His Facebook profile places him in Seattle. He did not respond to an interview request made through Facebook, and his lawyer also declined to comment.
One of the most famous quotes from the Bonnie and Clyde saga comes from detective Terry Sweeney, from the Erdely story. He couldn’t believe the fascination with the couple, given how stupid their decisions were and how easy they were to catch: “Bonnie and Clyde, that’s only because they’re young and good-looking. These two were complete idiots. If this was two fat fucks from South Philly, it would have been Turner and Hooch.”