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15-year-old taken from parking lot, raped

A 15-year-old girl was raped after being abducted from a grocery store parking lot late Sunday night, Hillsborough County sheriff's reports said. The girl was on her way to the Kash n' Karry store at Hillsborough Avenue and Memorial Highway about 11:30 p.m. when a man in a ski mask approached her and dragged her by the hair into his dark-colored car, reports said. The man drove to some woods on Sheldon Road where he raped her before leaving her there. Deputies were continuing to investigate Tuesday.

Commission votes to hire jail consultant

TAMPA _ A consultant who studied Hillsborough's jail problems should be hired to help figure out how to fix them, the County Commission decided Tuesday. The commission voted 4-1 to hire the Institute for Law & Policy Planning to study Hillsborough County's criminal justice system and recommend changes that would help reduce jail overcrowding. The last study cost the county $75,000; the next could cost as much as $200,000. Commissioner Jan Platt, the lone dissenter, said the commission should seek bids. But her colleagues, backed by county staff, decided there's insufficient time. The county will go to court next week to ask Hillsborough Chief Judge Dennis Alvarez for more time to solve jail overcrowding. Alvarez has given the county until August to come up with a plan. The institute's study of the jail population found many inmates could be released without threatening public safety.

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