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Tina Marie Rice

Rice

CROWN POINT — About a month after her arrest on allegations she sexually assaulted employees at the Hobart Victoria's Secret store, a Schererville woman was stopped by police after buying heroin in Gary, court records allege.

Tina M. Rice, 38, turned over about 0.3 grams of heroin wrapped in a blue and white piece of paper and cried and pleaded with the detectives Feb. 20 to allow her to go home, records state.

A detective with the Lake County sheriff's High Crime Unit allowed Rice to leave the traffic stop near 23rd Avenue and Grant Street in Gary, but told her she would be charged with possession of heroin, records said. She was charged Monday with level 6 felony possession of heroin.

A warrant was issued for Rice's arrest Tuesday, the same day she appeared before Lake Criminal Court Judge Samuel Cappas in the sexual battery case. 

John Cantrell, Rice's attorney in the sexual battery case, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Rice was arrested Jan. 18 on allegations she pulled down a retail associate's pants in a dressing room at Victoria's Secret and made a comment about the associate's private area. Rice also is accused of slapping another employee's buttocks on the way out of the store.

She's facing two felony counts of sexual battery, criminal confinement and two misdemeanor counts of battery in that case. 

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The High Crime Unit stopped Rice on Feb. 20 after watching her circle an area between Harrison and Grant streets and 17th to 19th avenues, according to court records. Police stopped her car after she briefly went inside a home on 19th Avenue and began to drive away.

Rice initially claimed she had been at a friend's house and was on her way back to Schererville, but she admitted to buying drugs after a detective told her he'd been watching her drive through the area for about 30 minutes, records allege.

Rice then told the detective she could "not afford to be arrested because she was currently on probation," court records said.

Rice is not currently on probation, but she is free on bond in the sexual battery case. Her next court date in that case is set for Aug. 13.

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