Action News report leads to ID thieves

April 2, 2008 9:14:30 PM PDT
Police in Delaware County believe they've busted an identity theft ring in Aston, with some help from two of the suspects and Action News. Authorities in Aston have never seen anything like this, and quite frankly, neither have we. One suspect takes the high road and turns herself in after seeing herself on Action News. Another decides to get out of dodge after learning she was on our report. And as it turns out, there are a number of other law enforcement agencies looking for her.

Det. Dave Berkeyheiser says, "Immediately following your broadcast, we started receiving phone calls from people identifying the people seen on the video."

The trio of alleged identity thieves, 2 women and a man, were caught on surveillance tape at the Neiman Marcus outlet store in Limerick. Police say they were living high on the hog on somebody else's identity. One of the suspects was wearing a $2,200 mink coat purchased at Zinman Furs using an Aston woman's social security number, date of birth, and address.

Authorities say the victim's name was used to open other accounts at a number of other stores, from T.J. Maxx to Neiman Marcus, charging almost $20,000 worth of merchandise.

One of the suspects, 20-year-old Ryan Amanda Mills of the 5100 block of Knox Street in Philadelphia saw herself on the news and turned herself in.

"And the other gentleman contacted me via cell phone and advised that he wants to come in and speak with me so we'll be wrapping that up tomorrow," said Berkeyheiser.

That leaves only the woman in the mink coat and designer sun glasses. She is now identified as 27-year-old Starletta Lee-Jernigan, aka Starletta Shavon Lee. Police went looking for her today at her an address at 19 Clapier Street in Germantown, but apparently she hit the road after seeing herself on the news.

Berkeyheiser says, "She wasn't home, in fact we were advised that she had moved out just last night."

It turns out Starletta, also known as Star, is very popular with law enforcement agencies across the region and not in a good way. She is being sought for other alleged identity theft cases in Limerick, Lower Merion, Linwood, New Jersey, Upper Chichester, and West Whiteland Township, Chester County.

"We don't know where she is, we believe that she's still in that North Philadelphia area around the Germantown Pike area," says Berkeuheiser. "She needs to turn herself in, it will be much better on her to turn herself in than if we have to end up eventually just picking her up off the street."

So with a number of law enforcement agencies out looking for Starletta, she has to be feeling the heat tonight. Anyone with information on her latest whereabouts is being asked to call Aston Police at (610) 497-2633.