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Shopper accused of theft on credit

Carol Kornell is accused of going on a $13,000 shopping spree with her ex-company's credit cards.

Once Carol Kornell started shopping, she just couldn't stop.

That's what sheriff's detectives say Kornell told them. The problem, they say, is that Kornell embarked on a $13,000 shopping spree with her company's credit cards.

Investigators say Kornell, who was a secretary at Honeywell, bought clothes, shoes, purses, meals and jewelry with corporate credit cards that her employers had given her to buy office equipment and business software.

She even bought movie passes for friends, detectives said Wednesday.

"She said that once she got started, she lost control," said Pinellas County Sheriff's spokesman Cal Dennie.

Kornell, 27, is charged with felony grand theft and has been released from Pinellas County Jail on $5,000 bond. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Detectives say Honeywell's credit card bills showed Kornell's trail through department stores like Burdines, Dillard's, JCPenney, Montgomery Ward and Sears. Unexplained charges also cropped up from Albertsons, AMC Theaters, Bob's Bridal Shoes, GNC Vitamins, IHOP, Ruby Tuesday and Waldenbooks.

Sheriff's reports describe this series of events:

Kornell was hired in December 1997 as a senior secretary at Honeywell, which builds spacecraft systems and military avionics at its sprawling plant on U.S. 19 in Clearwater.

She was issued four American Express corporate credit cards.

She stopped showing up for work June 25 and never returned. Honeywell called authorities on July 22 after reviewing its credit card bill.

Sheriff's Detective Tim Goodman confronted Kornell at her new job. She had been hired as a data processor for the Bic Corporation in Clearwater.

Detectives questioned her in a conference room. She denied knowing anything, so they pressed her.

"They said, "We want the merchandise back,' " Dennie said.

Kornell took them to her apartment complex at 11400 Fourth St. N in St. Petersburg and showed them all the merchandise, investigators said.

Many of the clothes, purses and shoe boxes still had store tags on them, Dennie said. The items were returned to Honeywell. Company officials couldn't be reached for comment.

In jail documents and court papers, Kornell lists addresses in both St. Petersburg and Palm Harbor.

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