The story of an attractive young couple accused of stealing police cars in multiple states and leading officers on a high-speed chase through the streets of South Jersey and Philadelphia has even police calling Blake Bills and Shayna Sykes the new “Bonnie and Clyde.”
"They’re “today’s junkie version of Bonnie and Clyde,” Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson told the Courier Post Online.
And perhaps that brings back memories of the last two local lovers who earned the "Bonnie and Clyde" moniker -- Jocelyn Kirsch and Edward Anderton. Remember them?
Back in late 2007, Jocelyn Kirsch, then 22, and Edward Anderton, then 25, made headlines around the world after their arrests for identity theft. Photos of the bikini-clad beauty and her shirtless beau surfaced amid allegations that they stole thousands from others. They soon became known as the “Bonnie and Clyde of ID Theft.”
At the time of their arrests and subsequent trials, the U.S. Attorney's Office said that Anderton, a University of Pennsylvania grad, and Kirsch, then a Drexel student, stole identities, credit cards and credit card account information from numerous victims including friends, co-workers, neighbors, fellow students, bar patrons and others.
They were accused of using the money they took -- more than $100,000 -- to live large in a Rittenhouse area condo. They also bought designer clothing, sported fancy haircuts and took lavish trips over the span of about a year. They took digital photos, leaving a trail of evidence for investigators and a photo history of their journey for the public to consume.
Like Kirsch and Anderton, Shayna Sykes, 23, and Blake Bills, 24, are also romantically involved. They have a 7-month-old child together.
Their alleged crime spree started on Saturday, when Sykes is accused of leaving the baby in her grandmother's care in Macungie, Pa. and stealing her car. On Sunday, a Camden police officer says he saw the two make a drug buy. He tried to pull them over for being in a stolen vehicle and they fled. The officer was hurt when he crashed his car during the chase.
Then on Tuesday, the couple was allegedly involved in a two-state police chase after stealing two police cars. They led officers first from Camden into Pennsauken and then over the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia where police there picked up the pursuit. Both chases reached speeds above 100 mph.
Bills was caught when he crashed a Camden police car in North Philadelphia, but while officers were handcuffing him, Sykes took off in a Philly police cruiser. Police cornered her in Northern Liberties, after a chase where she hit several other cars. In a dramatic "guns drawn" fashion, police apprehended her, with news choppers overhead broadcasting the capture, live.
Sykes' and Bills' alleged misdeeds and Kirsch and Anderton's theft spree are still far from the level of violence involving the original "Bonnie and Clyde." Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the bank-robbing Depression-era couple suspected in various murders, become the criminal icons for he-and-she, crime-sprees. They died in a hail of gunfire.
Kirsch and Anderton both wound up serving time on federal counts.
Sykes and Bills are jailed in Philadelphia, facing a barrage of charges in both states.