ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A young woman who stole a police car, led cops on a wild case, and then almost killed another driver has gotten a huge break.
The District Attorney’s Office dismissed that case, and the Albuquerque Police Department is upset.
Melissa Dominguez, 27, was charged with stealing a police cruiser after APD responded to a Wells Fargo where they see she tried to cash bogus checks.
But according to online court records, Dominguez’s charges from that dangerous joy ride were dismissed in December, what’s known as “nolle prosequi.” Prosecutors said the police did not submit all the evidence in time.
“We’re disappointed to say the least,” said Officer Simon Drobik with the Albuquerque Police Department.
“It’s very disheartening to find out those cases get dropped somewhere along the line. After all, these guys in uniform have put in all the work and the detectives put the work in, risking their lives to get these guys off the street, and they’re right out back again,” Drobik said. “It’s time and time again we’re seeing it, and it’s just getting old.”
APD has ten days after Dominguez’s first appearance in court to get the evidence in, but this case was dismissed four days early.
“We felt we really had no other choice to do what we did. We’re frustrated that we can’t go forward,” said District Attorney Kari Brandenburg.
She said a number of key things were missing in the case and they believed APD wouldn’t get the case together by the required deadline.
“We were missing supplemental reports, original theft reports for the vehicle, the gun and the checks, the field investigation reports, lapel camera access, photos, CADs, victim witness statements and tow sheets,” she said.
Meantime, Dominguez, who racked up five arrests in five months, has been locked up on a separate federal gun charge since January 8th, and Drobik hopes she’ll stay behind bars.
“She is not someone that is taken lightly, but apparently the system is taking her lightly and is dropping the charges,” he said.
Brandenburg said once the case is submitted and the evidence is in to move forward, they will prosecute, or work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office since Dominguez is being held on a federal gun charge.