A woman who told police a panhandler sprayed her in the face with a burning substance was lying about the whole thing, police now say.
Investigators had been looking for a suspect in the alleged attack on Woodrow Road in Arden Heights Monday morning. The 52-year-old woman was found with a burned face, and she told police that a female panhandler sprayed her with liquid when she wouldn't hand over a cigarette.
The woman stumbled into a nearby deli after the supposed attack, according to police, where a worker called 911.
"We thought it was a prank at first," deli worker Andrew Kenwood told News 4 Tuesday. "She came in here, she was banging on the door, banging on the door. She was almost fainting and falling."
The workers sat her down while they called police, trying to keep her as calm as possible until EMS arrived.
"When I tell you it was absolutely horrible -- it looks like her face is melting off," said Kenwood. "She couldn't breathe, she was panting."
The woman was taken to Staten Island University Hospital to be treated for second-degree burns.
After investigation, the injuries were found to be self-inflicted, police said Tuesday evening.
"The alleged acid assault in the Woodrow Area yesterday has been found to have not occurred," the NYPD's 123rd Precinct tweeted. "The injuries were self inflicted and there is no perpetrator. There is no threat to the public."