Former Walmart manager arrested after leaving the store with $135,000 in shopping bag, police say


A former Walmart manager in northern Illinois is in police custody months after reportedly walking out of the store with over $100,000 months ago, officials said.

Melissa Vanderwall — a 47-year-old former night manager for a Walmart store in Joliet, located about 45 miles southwest of Chicago — is accused of emptying $135,988 into a shopping bag and leaving the store on November 27. She turned herself into the Joliet Police Department on Monday for her alleged crimes, Chicago’s WGN9 reported.

The alleged theft was caught on surveillance footage, and resulted in a warrant being issued for Vanderwall’s arrest. Officials say the money came from cash recyclers that are typically used to restock cash registers. 

Vanderwall reportedly ended her shift early after filling the shopping bag with cash, according to reports. She’s being charged with theft and burglary, and was jailed on a $100,000 bond on Tuesday, court records show.

According to, local police were called to the scene the same day the crime took place, and an arrest warrant was issued just two days later.

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

It’s unclear why Vanderwall chose to turn herself into police on Monday morning.

When asked about how much of the stolen money his department was able to recover, English didn’t go into details in effort to protect the “prosecutorial integrity of the case.” 


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