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Scales of justice

A 32-year-old woman is accused of using a stolen debit card to book a stay at a nearby hotel, where police reportedly found her hours later with other stolen items.

Latoya Shantell Rivera appeared on Wednesday in Yellowstone County Justice Court on charges of deceptive practices, a misdemeanor, and felony theft. Judge Pro Tem Lance Lundvall set bond at $15,000. 

A couple called police on May 9 at 8 a.m. to report a burglary at their home on the 300 block of Phyllis Circle West, near the Rimrock Mall.

The couple told officers they had gone to bed around midnight the night before and left windows open due to the warm weather. When they woke up, most of their video game systems and games, as well as the husband’s wallet, were missing, according to charges. The items were valued between $1,500 and $5,000.

The husband then showed police his mobile banking app that showed his debit card had been used at the Lexington Inn & Suites, roughly 1.5 miles away.

Police went to the hotel and located Rivera in her room, according to charges. She told police three different names when asked to identify herself, none of which were Latoya Shantell Rivera. She also gave a birth date that would have made her 6 years old.

In searching the room for other people, police saw items they thought belonged to the couple who reported the burglary, charges state. Rivera told them a friend had brought the items to the room and that while she thought they might be “hot,” she did not have anything to do with them or know where they’d come from.

While officers searched the room, Rivera asked to use the restroom and then attempted to run, according to charges. Police handcuffed her.

The officers’ search turned up all of the items the couple had reported missing that morning, as well as other items reported stolen to the police on separate occasions, including “several” identification cards, wallets, purses and clothing.

Police began to transport Rivera to the Yellowstone County Detention Facility when she told them she had swallowed heroin before answering the door at the hotel because she did not want to be caught with the drug, charges state.

Rivera told police she’d swallowed 20 grams of heroin. One gram is enough to cause an overdose, according to the Department of Justice

Police transported the woman to the Billings Clinic, where, after being admitted, she reportedly tried to leave the hospital against medical advice. Another officer then picked Rivera up and booked her into jail, charges state.

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