- The Washington Times - Friday, October 8, 2004

A D.C. man who reported that two would-be robbers had set him on fire in Fairfax County made up the story, police said yesterday.

Police said that the 31-year-old man was refueling a car in Prince George’s County when he accidentally burned himself.

They said the man and Reyna O. Reyes, 34, decided to come to Fairfax County and report the injuries as part of a robbery attempt.

“We understand that they were possibly trying to cover up the fact that they had been together,” said Sgt. RichardPerez of the Fairfax County Police Department. He said detectives still have no idea how the pair got from Prince George’s County to Fairfax County.

Sgt. Perez credited the detectives, who descended on the crime scene en masse as word spread of the unusual and violent crime, with discovering the truth by questioning Miss Reyes and the man.

“As they really started to dive into the statements, the stories started to unravel,” he said.

Miss Reyes, of the 4000 block Alcott Street in Alexandria, was arrested and charged with filing a false police report.

She told investigators that her car, a 1994 Nissan, had been stolen. Detectives determined the car was the one the man was refueling when he was injured.

Additional charges are pending against the pair, but the man remains unidentified because he has not yet been charged, Sgt. Perez said.

They originally told police that two men approached the them at about 11:15 p.m. Thursday outside the Shoppers Food Warehouse at the Penn Daw Plaza shopping center in the 6200 block of North Kings Highway.

They said the two men demanded money, then sprayed the man with flammable liquid and set him on fire after he said he had none.

Miss Reyes, who lives a few miles from the grocery store, came out of the store and soaked the victim with water, they also said .

The man was taken to Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. He was later airlifted to the Washington Hospital Center’s burn unit and treated for first- and second-degree burns to his upper body.

“No question he had substantial injuries,” Sgt. Perez said.

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