PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A convicted Portland serial burglar is on the loose, and accused of more crimes, after his prison sentence was commuted by Governor Kate Brown.
In the summer of 2019, a Multnomah County judge sentenced then 64-year-old Melvin Tillman to six years in prison, for 10 burglaries he committed over eight months in Portland.
A couple of those burglaries were caught on surveillance camera, including one at a store on Northwest 23rd. Tillman was seen smashing the glass front door with a rock, grabbing the cash drawer, then running out.
Tillman was granted release by Governor Brown in June 2021 as part of the governor’s first wave of COVID-19 commutations — a move Brown said would prevent further loss of life.
Governor Brown’s office told KOIN 6 News that due to the spread of COVID-19 in jails and prisons across the U.S., Brown directed the Department of Corrections to consider commutations for adults in custody who are either “particularly vulnerable to COVID-19” or those who will be released in a few months.
The governor’s office says the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office was made aware when Tillman was being considered for commutation – and had the opportunity to raise concerns about his potential release.
KOIN 6 News asked the District Attorney’s Office to confirm if they were made aware and if they expressed any objection. So far, KOIN 6 News has not heard back.
“Our office is still gathering information and doing our due diligence regarding Tillman’s latest indictment. Information will be presented to the Governor, and she will make a decision in this case whether to revoke his commutation,” Governor Brown’s office said.
KOIN 6 News also reached out to Tillman’s lawyer and have yet to hear back.
In 2019, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said Melvin Tillman pleaded guilty and admitted to the break-ins. Investigators said Tillman would kick in doors or smash out windows to get in overnight or early in the morning. He stole or attempted to steal money from the cash registers.
Before his sentencing for these 10 burglaries, Tillman had 43 other felony convictions, 33 of them being 2nd-degree burglary. He was also ordered to pay $4,745 in restitution to five of the businesses.
In April 2018, Tillman was arrested for a crime spree in Northwest Portland and then released just days later.