Jocelyn Kirsch, a/k/a ‘Bonnie,' back in hot water

Kirsch in '07 police photo.
Kirsch in '07 police photo.
Posted: June 29, 2012

OH BOY, here we go again.

The former Drexel University student with a penchant for Olympic pole-vaulting tales and romantic horseback rides on the beach — yes, Jocelyn Kirsch — was arrested this month in California for shoplifting and other crimes, law-enforcement authorities said Thursday.

What could have possibly led to her alleged relapse? A handbag, label unknown, police said.

Kirsch's June 17 felony arrest at a Walnut Creek mall also violates her federal probation, and she again may have to face a federal judge and possibly go back to jail. It's unclear which jurisdiction — Northern California or Philadelphia — would hold that hearing and when it would be held. Still, it's possible that Kirsch, half of the infamous "Bonnie and Clyde" identity-theft duo, could return to the scene of the pair's crimes.

Stephen R. Kahn, a Los Angeles attorney who has represented Kirsch in other skirmishes with California law and in this one, told the Daily News Thursday that his client was "innocent."

Kirsch, 26, whose arrest was first reported by Walnut Creek Patch.com, was purported to have sticky fingers in the high-end Nordstrom department store as well as a Banana Republic, both located in the Broadway Plaza, said Lt. Steve Gorski of the Walnut Creek police. She was charged with possession of stolen property and second-degree burglary, police said. Walnut Creek is about 30 minutes northeast of Berkeley, which Kirsch listed as her residence.

Details were scarce, but according to Gorski, police officers were called to Nordstrom around 5:40 p.m. and found that store security staff had placed the convicted felon under arrest. Officers investigated the matter, concurred and took custody of Kirsch, who was booked in the Contra Costa County jail in Martinez. "She is also on federal [probation] so the case, in addition to being forwarded for prosecution in our county, ... was referred to federal [probation]," Gorski said.

Louis Lappen, first assistant U.S. attorney in Philly, who prosecuted the "Bonnie and Clyde" cases, was informed of the latest news by a Daily News reporter and said of Kirsch: "If she engaged in any criminal act while on supervised release, she can be found in violation of the terms of her supervised release and be sent back to jail."

The feds could wait for the outcome of the Walnut Creek case before proceeding with a federal probation-violation hearing, he said.

Walnut Creek cops are also looking into "multiple incidents" allegedly involving Kirsch the same day, Gorski said. "She's being investigated for similar crimes with other stores in the area."

Kahn, who hadn't seen the police report, said that Kirsch was "an interesting person."

"Jocelyn is working very, very hard to restore her life and return to living a peaceful and successful existence," Kahn said. "She is a good person and she has no intent to hurt anybody."

Bail was set at $20,000.

Kirsch and her Ivy League honey, Edward Anderton, were sweethearts, then jailbirds together, in 2007 when they were caught stealing identities by authorities and the pair's victims. The duo were accused of fleecing friends, neighbors, co-workers and local businesses of nearly $120,000 by obtaining personal information and spending the loot on lavish vacations and epic spending sprees.

Kirsch and Anderton pleaded guilty and were sentenced to five and four years in federal prison, respectively. Kirsch was released in November from a halfway house in Sacramento. Anderton was released in September from his halfway house in Seattle.

Email Regina Medina at medinar@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter @reginamedina.

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