Web of crime connects back to one woman, documents reveal | KOB 4

Web of crime connects back to one woman, documents reveal

Caleb James
September 06, 2017 05:56 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- She has five felony warrants for her arrest, and she's one of the Albuquerque Police Department's most wanted fugitives. 


For months, the KOB staff has been tracking Melissa Willis and her alleged accomplices. The full picture of her alleged crimes is staggering. Through police and court documents, KOB has connected Willis to at least 10 other known criminals in the Albuquerque area.

Willis's alleged co-conspirators are accused criminals -- mostly suspected of theft and property crime. Aside from their criminal records and pending charges, they all have one other thing in common: all roads lead to Willis.

A trail of accused and convicted criminals points to a woman police say is on the run right now. Willis is wanted for breaking and entering, embezzlement of a motor vehicle, conspiracy, forgery, identity theft, fraud, and even child abuse for allegedly forcing her two young children to live in an abandoned property. 

Boyfriends, gal pals -- even her own dad -- have been caught up in her crush of crimes. It goes back years, but just like any saga, it has its especially dramatic chapters. 

There's the time police say Willis stole a house, allegedly forging ownership documents and a title for an abandoned property. 

On a solo trip to Sergio's Hair Studio, police say Willis ordered expensive hair extensions and promised next-day payment. 

"When she went to go pay, she started crying and said that her wallet was missing," said salon manager Amanda Salazar. 

Salazar said Willis told a harrowing story before running off with over $500 in hair extensions flowing in the breeze behind her.

"She was really nice and friendly," said Salazar. "Just a normal person, so [the salon owner] thought." 

Then there are the boyfriends. 

Rewind all the way to February 2016. Witnesses at a northeast Albuquerque TJ Maxx store say Willis and boyfriend Craig Marshall bounced a washed and reprinted check for $400 in merchandise. 

Only a month earlier, police say Willis running with a different beau, James Tindell, casually walking out of this bed bath and beyond carrying after $2,000 in unpaid merchandise. 

She's accused of forging documents to steal cars from two dealerships.  

Late last year, police say it became a family affair. Willis is accused of buying nearly $3,000 worth of tires from a Peerless tire shop with a stolen credit card. She gave them to her dad, Mike Tillberg. Police say he put them on his truck. Both were arrested.

There are uncles and friends and even Willis's ex-husband.

The last time Willis was in front of a judge, district attorneys asked to keep her behind bars but she was released.


Caleb James

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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