ST. PETERSBURG — The city's homeless now have more than the frigid elements to worry about. Someone threw an acid bomb at a homeless woman early Wednesday as she slept by a city street.
"Some may consider this a prank," said St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt. "But we consider it a serious crime."
The woman was sleeping near the St. Vincent de Paul Society food center at 401 15th St. N when she was attacked about 12:40 a.m., according to police.
Someone in a passing car hurled a plastic container filled with acid at the woman as she lay asleep near the intersection of Fifth Avenue N and 15th Street, police said.
The bottle hit a stop sign and burst open, spilling chemicals onto the victim's top blanket. The woman was lying underneath several layers of blankets, so police said she was not injured in the attack.
The attackers tossed out two more plastic bottles. There were more people sleeping in that area, but no one else was injured.
Police said these bottles are typically filled with hydrochloric acid and other elements. Those chemicals mix, causing a rapidly expanding gas that ruptures the container, spraying the contents over a small area. Police would not disclose what specific chemicals were used.
The vehicle used is described as a large, boxy, dark sedan, possibly a Cadillac or a Lincoln Town Car. The car was last seen going west on Fifth Avenue N at 16th Street.
"We only have a very general description of the car. We need the public's help" Proffitt said. "We're sure someone out there knows who did it and we'd like for them to call us."