Joliet Walmart Employee Who Stole Thousands Finally Caught: Police

JOLIET, IL — A 47-year-old employee of the Joliet Walmart store on West Jefferson Street, charged with stealing $135,988 from the store on Nov. 27, was booked Monday morning at the Will County Jail, prison logs show.

On December 15, a Will County grand jury indicted Vanderwall on two misdemeanor counts, robbery and burglary, following a police investigation of Joliet. For more than three months, Vanderwall was not taken into custody by Will County authorities.

On Monday, Will County Jail logs listed an alias for her: Melissa Briscolino. Will County court records also show that she grew up in Romeoville under the name Melissa Netherlands. When Joliet police received an arrest warrant in early December, authorities reported that she lived in rural Mazon; However, Grundy County Sheriff Ken Briley later told Patch that Vanderwall had not lived on that estate, surrounded by farmland, for at least 10 years.

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According to Will County civil forfeiture documents for Vanderwall’s 2015 Jeep Cherokee:

  • On November 29, Joliet Police Officer Matt Pesce was called to the Walmart store at 2424 West Jefferson St. to investigate an earlier robbery. A loss prevention worker told Pesce that Vanderwall stole money from two different money recyclers. The cash recyclers are similar to ATMs and stores use them to replenish their cash registers.
  • Joliet Walmart’s general manager informed the Joliet police that the money recyclers had made deposits between Nov. 25 and Nov. 26.
  • Video surveillance footage showed Vanderwall emptying both cash recyclers and placing the cash in a Walmart reusable grocery bag between 3:33 p.m. and 3:38 p.m. on Nov. 27.
  • Before leaving the store on Nov. 27, Vanderwall gave her “manager” keys to a fellow Walmart supervisor, claiming she had a family emergency.
  • Vanderwall then left the store with the money and drove off in the blue Jeep Cherokee that is now the subject of a January civil forfeiture in Will County.

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