Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Public safety

Man charged with raping girl behind Target store in Seminole

SEMINOLE — A 21-year-old Largo man was arrested early Saturday on charges that he raped a 17-year-old girl Friday night behind a Target store in Seminole.

Raheem Willis Bell was walking with the girl about 8:30 p.m. in an area behind the store at 4450 Park St. N, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. As they walked, Bell told the girl to take off her pants. She refused.

Bell then took the girl's pants off by force and raped her, deputies said. Afterward, Bell left the area, leaving the girl alone and half-naked behind the store.

The girl contacted people she knew, who called the sheriff's office, authorities said. Members of the sheriff's crimes against children unit then found and arrested Bell early Saturday.

He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on a charge of sexual battery and a probation violation stemming from a previous conviction for child abuse.

Detectives believe that people walking or driving in the area of the Target store Friday night might have seen Bell and the girl together. They are asking anyone who saw them to contact the crimes against children unit at (727) 582-6200.

Pinellas court records show that Bell was arrested in March on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery, which was changed to a child abuse charge.

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