ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Police are searching for a red BMW with Pennsylvania license plate KJG-5262 after an alleged bleach attack on a black male teen.
The teenager was walking down Columbia St. around 9:50 p.m., looking at his phone, when a car driving by sprayed him with household cleaning solutions according to Lieutenant William Solt of the Elmira Police Department.
“On August 3 at approximately 9:50 p.m. a gentleman was walking north on Columbia St,” said Solt. “And he was looking at his phone and a vehicle drove by. Someone appeared to spray him with something from like a spray bottle, he described as having cleaning solutions. He said that smelled like bleach and hit him in the eyes and his eyes burned for a few minutes. The vehicle continued to drive past and then turned and went a different direction.”
Solt adds that the victim had to wait for his cousin to come pick him up.
“Horrible that you’re just walking down the street and somebody drives by and sprays you with some type of unknown substance it’s very concerning,” said Solt.
18 News first heard of this incident through a viewer tip on from Facebook.
“Every investigation we take seriously this one because of the social media attention, we definitely want to prioritize this, because there’s been social media posts that this is a hate crime,” said Solt. “So we don’t want to make problems for anyone involved, if this person is just someone who was in the area, we’d hate for someone to confront them and accuse them of being involved in a hate crime.”
Although the social media post references LECOM, the incident occurred on Columbia St. and not directly on the LECOM campus.
“They saw a red BMW in the Weis parking lot,” said Solt. “They thought that vehicle might have been involved so they took down a license plate with Pennsylvania registration KJG-5262, we have been trying to locate this vehicle since the incident.”
For anyone who has any information on this incident, here’s the Elmira Police Department number (607) 735-8600.