Walmart manager vanished after walking out of store with a shopping bag – then $100,000 went missing too

A FORMER Walmart manager disappeared for four months after stealing over $100,000 from the store.

Melissa Vanderwall was a night manager at a Walmart store in Joliet, Illinois, located 45 miles southwest of Chicago.

The 47-year-old was seen on surveillance footage leaving the store with $135,988 in a shopping bag on November 27, 2022, according to authorities.


Melissa Vanderwall is accused of stealing over $135,000 from her Walmart store where she worked as a managerCredit: Will County Jail
The 47-year-old handed herself into the police department after disappearing for four months


The 47-year-old handed herself into the police department after disappearing for four monthsCredit: Google Maps

It is alleged that Vanderwall clocked off from her shift early after she stuffed the bag full of cash from the cash recyclers used to restock the registers.

The incident took place between 3.33 pm and 3.38 pm on November 27, and Vanderwall then allegedly handed over her keys to another manager saying she had a family emergency.

According to the forfeiture complaint over her 2015 Jeep Cherokee which she used to leave the store that day, Vanderwall’s daughter had called the store looking for her mother.

She had visited her mother’s home in Mazon but a note on the door read: “I’m gone. The house is under foreclosure.”

However, Grundy County Sheriff Ken Briley told Patch that he was contacted by the Joliet police to check out the address where Vanderwall was registered.

According to Briley, his deputies found that she had not lived there for at least a decade.

Four months after the alleged theft, Vanderwall handed herself into the Joliet Police Department on March 6, 2023.

“Detectives were actively investigating this case, and it was believed she had left the area,” Joliet police spokesman Dwayne English told Patch.

It is not known why she turned herself in but the former Walmart employee was charged with theft and burglary and jailed on a $100,000 bond, according to court records.

However, the following month, Will County Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak reduced Vanderwall’s bail to $50,000 and ordered a psychological evaluation.

In addition to this, she is banned from any future contact with the retailer.

Meanwhile, the amount of money that has been recovered, if any, has not been revealed.

“I cannot speak on the status of the money, as it is an integral part of this case,” English told Patch.

“Doing so might interfere with the prosecutorial integrity of the case.”

Vanderwall’s pre-trial is scheduled for January 16, 2024, at the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Will County, Illinois.

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