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Philly man arrested for permanently scarring federal officer in chemical attack

Prosecutors say Victor Ortiz, 45, threw a caustic substance in the face of a federal immigration officer, whom he'd previously dated, after stalking her for months.

The outside of the federal courthouse in Center City.
The outside of the federal courthouse in Center City.Read moreTYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer

A Philadelphia man who permanently scarred an immigration officer by throwing caustic chemicals in her face has been arrested, prosecutors said Friday.

Investigators say Victor Ortiz, 45, attacked his victim — identified in court filings only by her initials, T.R. — after the two had broken off a romantic relationship.

The May 4 attack, which occurred while the woman was walking to her office, left her temporarily blind in her left eye and inflicted burns on her face and torso, the scars of which still remain.

Prosecutors did not identify the chemical Ortiz allegedly used or say exactly where the incident occurred.

Still, they said, the incident came after months in which Ortiz stalked the woman online and secretly installed a GPS tracker on her car to monitor her movements. After investigators found and removed the device, they allegedly caught Ortiz trying to install a second tracker in July.

U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero called Ortiz’s actions “dangerous, terrorizing, and abhorrent.”

“Everyone deserves to feel safe as they go about their daily lives: at home, while at work, and in transit; and intimate partner violence can sometimes be the most terrifying kind because someone who knows you well can strike any part of your routine,” she said in a statement.

Ortiz, who was arrested earlier this week, remained in federal custody Friday afternoon. He could not be reached for comment.

He faces counts of stalking and assaulting a federal officer — the most serious of which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.

His attorney, Daniel McGarrigle, declined to comment.