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New Yorkers join search for Salt Lake fugitive



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A "Most Wanted" profile put out by the Salt Lake City Police Department is gaining viral status, at least among the alleged victims of a woman known by some as the "Hipster Grifter."

Kari Michelle Ferrell, 22, was the subject of an expose in the New York Observer earlier this week. That paper writes she had been living in New York and working for the popular magazine "Vice."

Salt Lake police have been looking for Ferrell. They won't discuss the specifics of the case, but Ferrell is charged in Utah with forgery and theft, to the amount of at least $60,000.

Many of her alleged victims are people who've had relationships with Ferrell and trusted her to the point that they either gave her money or gave her access to their bank accounts. But Ferrell is also gaining some renown in New York City, where people who claim they've been burned by her have been contacting Salt Lake police and blogging about their encounters with her.

In fact, a Facebook page has been set up with a description that reads, "For all true lovers of this diminutive Korean charlatan. Swindle me whenever u want, lil one."

The site is full of postings from people who claim to have been lied to and who've lost money. But there are also postings from people who support her.

Police Sgt. Fred Ross says the Internet interest in Ferrell began when people who knew her in New York became suspicious enough that they looked up her name on the Internet and found the department's wanted posting.

"Her YouTube video got about 50,000 hits this morning, and our Web site hit shave jumped up massively," Ross said.

That generated tips to the department to her possible whereabouts. Police are hoping the interest will help them find and arrest her.

Ross says the case proves how valuable tool the Internet is becoming for police departments.

E-mail: mgiauque@ksl.com

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Marc Giauque

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