St. Cloud officer used dead man’s credit card after responding to scene

A St. Cloud Police officer is accused of using a dead man’s credit card that she allegedly stole while responding to his home after his final 911 call.

Dianne Ferreira was arrested on Tuesday, May 9, just over a month after the death of Christopher Kennelly. She faces multiple felony charges, including criminal use of the personal ID of a deceased person, as well as fraud.

According to court records, on April 3, personnel from the Saint Cloud Police Department and St. Cloud Fire Rescue responded to a local home in reference to a caller stating he was having difficulty breathing. Upon arrival, authorities found Kennelly lying on the ground. Kennelly was unresponsive and blue in color and was transported to a local hospital.

Less than an hour after first responders arrived at his house, Kennelly was pronounced deceased.

On April 14, Kennelly’s widow contacted St. Cloud Police Department to report that her husband’s credit and debit cards had been used fraudulently in the days after his death.

The widow advised that she noticed multiple charges beginning the day after her husband’s death. She told police that she cancelled the cards and feared that a first responder had taken photos of the cards while at the couple’s home.

During their investigation, police reviewed charges made at various locations across Osceola and Polk County and eventually transferred the case to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office and Lakeland Police Department.

On April 25, an OCSO detective visited some of the locations where the charges occurred, including the Rebel Gas station located at 2294 E Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway.

While reviewing video surveillance from the gas station, the detective was able to identify a 2022 or 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee as the vehicle associated with the fraudulent uses of the card. The detective checked through the Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID) and found that 84 vehicles matching the description were registered in Osceola County.

While reviewing the list of vehicle owners, the detective located Ferreira’s name, which matched the name of the officer who responded to Kennelly’s residence.

On April 27, the detective visited the Wendy’s located at 2398 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee to review surveillance video for a second time. During his review, the detective observed the same white Jeep picking up a mobile order that was paid for using the stolen credit card.

As in the transactions at the gas station, the credit card was not physically used, but rather, was associated with a mobile payment connected to a phone.

As the detective continued his investigation, he found surveillance video showing the same Jeep at various locations where the additional charges were made. In addition to purchases at fast food restaurants and gas stations, the charges included a one-night stay at a local hotel.

On May 1, a search warrant was issued for “any and all cell phone” evidence in the possession of Ferreira, and Ferreira’s Apple iPhone 14 was seized by police.

During an interview with police, Ferreira indicated that she had taken photographs of the victim’s debit and credit cards as part of her investigation of the crime scene. According to the original St. Cloud Police report, however, another officer was assigned to capture photographs of the scene.

When confronted about the discrepancies in her statements, Ferreira originally placed blame on a 17-year-old male relative that she lives with. As the interview progressed, she admitted to taking photographs of the victim’s card with the intent to use them in the future.

When asked why she would steal the man’s credit card information, Ferreira told investigators that she was going through an eviction process and was the sole income earner in her home.

In total, Kennelly’s debit and credit cards were used to make approximately $445.82 in purchases over the course of nearly two weeks.

Ferreira, who was given an award of merit by the St. Cloud Police Department in August of last year, was released the same day of her arrest after posting bond. On Friday, May 12, her attorney entered a plea of not guilty.

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