Among the Drexel University student's bigger boasts that emerged this week was her claim that she qualified for the U.S. Olympic team pole-vaulting trials for the 2004 Greek games. But since Drexel doesn't have a track and field team, Kirsch would practice with the University of Pennsylvania team, she told a former friend, who didn't want her name to be used.
"I went to Penn, I was friends with the team, she never trained there," the Penn alumna wrote in an e-mail.
Another classmate said Kirsch posted a photo of herself on her Facebook page - don't bother looking for it, she took down the page over the weekend - pole vaulting "some ridiculous height that only an Olympian could do," said the former bud, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The face in the photo was too dark to discern, the classmate said, adding that "it was clearly taken from another site."
Some of Kirsch's Drexel classmates never really bought the notion, including one Facebook user who posted a photo on one of two Facebook pages dedicated to Kirsch, titled "SHE GOIN' TO JAAAAAAAAIL!!!! (and THAT'S hilarious)." The image features a pole vaulter with Kirsch's police mug shot as the head and two cops behind her on Segways. The caption reads, "Can't catch me, I'm a gold medalist!!!"
Kate Agnelli, a friend from Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, N.C., said Kirsch did pole vault for at least one year, perhaps two, during high school. "She was a good pole vaulter."
Still, the idea of the buxom chameleon on Team USA prompted Agnelli to guffaw. "That's funny," she said. "No, she didn't do that."
"The part of me that was friends with her knows she's sad and that's why she does the things that she does," she said. "The part of me that's a little bit vindictive is not sad to see her getting hers, but hopefully some good will come of it and she'll straighten herself out."
Bail initially had been set at $25,000 for Kirsch, 22, and $50,000 for Anderton, 25. But judges yesterday hiked bail to $105,000 for Kirsch and $130,000 for Anderton after detectives said they'd identified a fourth victim and prosecutors filed additional charges of burglary, criminal trespass and conspiracy.
Authorities allege that the camera-loving sweethearts funded a lavish lifestyle of glamorous vacations and swanky meals and shopping sprees by stealing the identities of wealthy neighbors in their exclusive condo building. Detectives suspect the pair schemed for at least two years and may have filched more than $100,000 this year alone.
The couple were scheduled to appear in Common Pleas Court for a preliminary hearing yesterday morning. But Judge Thomas F. Gehret continued it until Feb. 12 to give attorneys more time to prepare.
Still, Kirsch appeared via video from police headquarters for her arraignment on the additional charges.
She kept her eyes downcast and fiddled with her hair as onlookers searched fruitlessly for some similarity between the cowed defendant before them and the lusty, busty brunette with the cleavage-baring wardrobe pictured in dozens of photographs of her circulating in the media. Anderton, who was being held at Central Detectives, also was arraigned, although his video wasn't publicly available.
Attorney Ron Greenblatt, who's representing Kirsch but spoke on behalf of both defendants, described them as "sad and scared."
He said both acknowledge wrongdoing, but said he hadn't decided whether to seek a plea bargain for Kirsch because new evidence continues to arise daily.
"Taking the credit information from someone who lives across the hall from you - how anyone thinks they can get away with that kind of stupidity for more than a few months is beyond me," Greenblatt said. "They know how much trouble they're in. This is a stressful time for them."
Anderton's parents especially were caught off-guard by news of their son's arrest, Greenblatt added.
At Snohomish High School in Snohomish, Wash., where he graduated in 2001, Anderton was a star athlete who snagged high marks in honors classes, played in the school band and was elected to student government, according to the Seattle Times. He attended Penn on an academic scholarship, earning an economics degree in 2005, Greenblatt said. He also was on the swim team at both schools, he added.
Anderton, known by friends as "Eddie," was named the Seattle Times' "Star of the Month" in February 2000.
In a short bio in the paper, he said he enjoyed MTV "because I can see how others dance," and when asked, he said he preferred "Monday Night Football" to "Dawson's Creek."
Although several cell phones were found in his upscale apartment in the Belgravia over the weekend, Anderton said he didn't have one in high school because "I haven't talked my parents into buying me a cellphone."
On juggling his swim schedule and 4.0 grade-point average, he told the paper: "It's just prioritizing, I guess. Just being real time efficient. I just try to find time for as much as I can."
"Their reaction is shock," Greenblatt said of Anderton's family, who had flown in from Washington to attend yesterday's hearing. "He had never given them anything but pride and joy."
Anderton's father, Kyle, works at a newspaper, Greenblatt said. His mother, Lori, also attended the hearing.
Kirsch's parents are divorced. Her father, Lee, is a plastic surgeon in Winston-Salem; her mother, Jessica Kirsch Eads, heads the nursing department of a northern California hospital.
Eads received a master's degree in public health from the University of North Carolina in 2000, apparently while still married to Dr. Kirsch, and a Ph.D. from the same institution in 2004, according to university officials.
Eads' dissertation was titled "Construction of Adolescent Girls' Identity in the Age of Reality Television."
The F.B.I. is looking into the case, police said. The agency has looked at the evidence and is deciding whether to get involved with the investigation. The F.B.I. will also assist in looking through the computer hard drives for evidence, police said.
Police executed another search warrant yesterday in the couple's apartment, taking everything of value from there.
If federal charges are filed against Anderton and Kirsch, the district attorney's office would probably drop all local charges so the case could be prosecuted in federal court, said police spokesman Sgt. Ray Evers. Federal courts are known for tough sentences.
The judge allowed Kirsch to return to her father's home after posting bail, and Anderton to go home with his parents to Washington. He issued a stay-away order for the latest victim.
Kirsch, who was in her final year at Drexel University where she is studying business, has been suspended from the school, Greenblatt said.
University officials and classmates say her major is international area studies.
A Drexel spokeswoman said in an e-mail that "Kirsch's conduct is being evaluated and if determined to be in violation of university policies, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken."
Kirsch was arrested and charged in November 2005 for retail theft at the Lord & Taylor in the King of Prussia Mall, according to Montgomery County records. She pleaded guilty and paid fines and court costs totaling $268.50.
Two other unrelated shoplifting cases against her in Philadelphia were dismissed, Greenblatt added. Assistant District Attorney Mark Winter, of the D.A.'s economic and cyber-crime unit, declined to comment yesterday. *
Staff writer Tom Schmidt contributed to this report.