Albuquerque Police Chief and Public Safety Director Attend Sentencing
ALBUQUERQUE - One of the city’s most prolific thieves was sentenced to 16 years in prison Monday.
Melissa Chezem was facing a maximum of a 28-year sentence when District Court Judge Kenneth Martinez sentenced her. She had pleaded guilty to 13 theft-related charges. There were more than 100 victims and more than $100,000 worth of property was stolen.
Albuquerque Public Safety Director Darren White and Police Chief Ray Schultz attended Chezem’s sentencing.
“Thieves like this terrorize our city and we are going to do whatever it takes to stop them,” White said. “If that means taking time out of our schedule to show up for sentencings, we will do it.”
Chezem’s charges stem from a series of seven theft cases investigated by the Albuquerque Police Department. In one of the cases, Chezem sneaked into a school, went into a teacher’s classroom, took her keys and then left in the teacher’s car. She also stole a video camera from a KOB-TV videographer’s vehicle.
While her case was pending Chezem had escaped from the jail’s community custody program. Chezem admitted in court Monday that she was stealing to support her meth habit.
“There is no doubt you were a one woman crime spree,” Judge Martinez said during sentencing.
Along with the 16 years she was sentenced to Monday, Chezem also faces two additional years in federal prison.
After the sentencing, Police Chief Ray Schultz said he was pleased that Chezem would be off the streets for more than a decade.
“For the next 16 years, we will not have to worry about Ms. Chezem,” Schultz said. “If we put thieves like Chezem behind bars, one by one we will tackle the city’s property crime epidemic.”