HAMMOND | Six women were arrested Tuesday night through an ongoing police initiative to discourage open-air prostitution in the downtown area.
The women are accused of flagging down cars around Harrison Park, and some with offering sexual activity in exchange for money to an undercover officer in an unmarked vehicle.
Charged with prostitution, a class A misdemeanor, were Debra Darge, 41, and Teena Elliot, 51, both of Hammond. Charged with prostitution-related obstruction of traffic, a class B misdemeanor, were Melissa Martinear, 37, Tamu House, 39, Sheena Tomlinson, 24, all of Hammond, and Angelique Gonella, 31, of Chicago.
Class A charges carry a possible sentence of a year in jail and a $5,000 fine; class B misdemeanors are punishable by 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Police Chief Brian Miller said the operations against prostitution providers and customers will continue. Surveillance cameras are scheduled to be installed in the area later this summer. -- By Steve Zabroski, Times Correspondent