Does your wallet contain enough information about you for someone to steal your identity and commit crimes under your name? That’s what happened to Jessamyn Lovell when Erin Hart stole her wallet in 2011.
Lovell tracked Hart down and documented this in “Dear Erin Hart,” a photo project. Lovell couldn’t find the heartless Hart on her own, so she hired a private investigator. Turns out Hart was sitting in jail on numerous charges. Hart served eight months and upon exiting the city lockup, was photographed by Lovell.
That was just the start of stalking Hart. Lovell, the PI and two of his assistants followed the thief around all day, taking pictures of her doing ordinary things like buying cigarettes and shopping at a thrift store. The trail disintegrated after she entered an alley.
Lovell had a chance to confront Hart, but opted not to, concerned that it could turn ugly. But the several thousand dollars that this 2013 venture cost Lovell was worth it.
The following year Lovell, with the PI’s help, found Hart again. And in September 2014, Lovell opened her show at SF Camerawork—the very location of the wallet theft. Lovell is writing a book and hopes to have it out in March this year.
Lovell has also gone as far as sending an e-mail to Hart (via her probation officer), asking for Hart to respond, but Hart has not.
“I just wanted her to know that she impacted a real person,” Lovell says in an article on wired.com.
Lovell actually feels some degree of connection with her identity theif because she grew up poor and figures that Hart is hard up for money (though Hart certainly didn’t need to waste what little money she had on cigarettes). Nevertheless, she has no desire to try to make friends with Hart.