Robber Throws Acid in Face of Man, Steals Car

Times Staff Writer

A Van Nuys man was seriously burned when a would-be robber threw acid in his face, then stole his car and left him lying in the street, Los Angeles police said Wednesday.

Authorities said Andres Chaidez, 22, suffered chemical burns over his face and 30% of his body in the attack at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday near Haskell Avenue and Vanowen Street in Van Nuys.

Chaidez was taken to an undisclosed hospital, where he was reported in serious condition. Police said he had severe damage to both eyes and, because of his condition, detectives were unable to question him.

After the acid was thrown, his assailant and an accomplice followed the injured man as he tried to drive away. Police said that when Chaidez lost control of his car and crashed, the pair stole his car.

The nature of the caustic chemical thrown in Chaidez's face was unknown. But, according to police reports, paramedics who treated Chaidez said he had suffered severe acid burns. Police obtained chemical samples at the scene for analysis and identification.

Detectives said the exact motive for the assault was unclear but that it appeared to be a robbery. Lt. Dennis Dunn said Chaidez was sitting in his parked car on Haskell Avenue when he was approached by a man carrying a plastic container who demanded money.

"The victim said, 'I don't have any money,' and this guy threw a white liquid from the container in his face," Dunn said.

Detective Jim Vojtecky said Chaidez started his car and attempted to get away, but the assailant jumped into a pickup truck driven by an accomplice and followed him. Chaidez drove about two blocks, to the 6900 block of Gloria Avenue, before he lost control of his car, sideswiped a parked car and came to a stop, Vojtecky said.

"The victim got out and fell to the ground, where he was rolling and screaming in pain and covering his face," Vojtecky said.

The pickup truck pulled up and one of the men jumped out and got into Chaidez's car, Vojtecky said. Both vehicles then sped off. Neighbors who heard Chaidez's screams called police.

Vojtecky said that no arrests had been made and that Chaidez's car has not been found.

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