Theft charges are filed in acid hoax case

More than $27,000 has been contributed to Bethany Storro

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The woman who claimed that a stranger threw an unknown substance on her face is facing three counts of second-degree theft by deception.

They include aggravating circumstances against Bethany Storro because they involved Good Samaritan donors of more than $750, according to Tony Golik, Clark County deputy prosecuting attorney with the major crimes unit. The victims, listed in a Clark County Superior Court document filed Monday, include Safeway ($3,000), Anytime Fitness ($800) and Michael Kite, of California ($1,000).

If Storro is convicted as charged with theft, Golik said today the standard sentencing range would be a total of two to five months in jail. The aggravating circumstances could allow a judge to sentence above the standard range and approve a maximum of five years. Additional charges are being considered including false reporting to public officials and misdemeanor theft.

Meanwhile, it has not been determined what will happen to the donations that were made anonymously at Riverview Community Bank and the Washougal Safeway. Contributions that were made by identified donors will eventually be returned to them, Golik said.

There were two accounts containing donations for Storro. One has approximately $20,000, and the other has $4,595. Those amounts do not include the $3,000, which is listed in the theft count. That included donations from area residents and Storro’s co-workers.

Storro admitted to Vancouver police Thursday, that the injuries she sustained were self-inflicted. She had worked at Safeway for several months.

Storro, 28, had told police on Aug. 30 she sustained burns to her face as she exited her vehicle in the area of Eighth and Columbia streets, in downtown Vancouver. Storro has been treated at the Oregon Burn Center at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, in Portland.

The account set up by some of Storro’s coworkers is not closed, according to Kim Capeloto, executive vice president of marketing and operations, at Riverview.

“No additional deposits are being processed,” he said. “Distribution of funds will be determined by the account holders. Some gave $5. Some got a receipt, some did not.”

Capeloto said donations have been received from across the U.S.

“Our thoughts are with those involved, those who have donated and those who are working through this process,” he said. “While the story ended differently from what we envisioned, it is a tragic story – no matter how you look at it.”

Pat Guard, co-owner of Columbia Litho, in Camas, with his wife Charmane, and his sister Betsy Ward, estimates the value of the signs they donated to be close to $300.

Guard said he contacted Safeway Manager Mike Brown about the possibility of creating professional signs after he noticed a hand drawn sign in the store window asking for donations to help Storro,

On Friday, Brown returned the borrowed stands that had held the signs. The signs, described by Guard as “recyclable but not reusable” were not returned.

He was disappointed after the news conference Thursday.

“I still really feel [Storro] needs more help than what we thought,” Guard said. “It’s so sad so many people were impacted by this – people in Vancouver who felt badly, people who gave who did not have to – you never know how many people gave.

“It’s not a life changing thing for me,” he added. “I’ve made some good and bad business decisions. I’ll just keep doing it. If we can help tomorrow, we will – if something comes up. It was originally a good decision. It was something I’d do again if I had the opportunity. It ended up negative. It’s very tragic.”