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Woman in fake acid attack charged with theft

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Theft charges filed in 'acid hoax' case
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bethany Storro faces charges of theft for money received from good samaritans
  • Storro claimed an unidentified African-American woman threw acid in her face
  • Investigator says Storro told him she thought there would be no evidence

(CNN) -- Prosecutors have charged a woman who admitted throwing a corrosive liquid on her own face with three counts of theft from people or companies acting as Good Samaritans, Clark County, Washington, officials said Monday.

A warrant has been issued for her arrest, the Clark County prosecutors' office said.

Bethany Storro "did obtain control over" at least $750 each from Michael Kite, Anytime Fitness and Safeway during the time she was promoting the story that she was attacked on August 30 by an African-American woman with an athletic build and slicked-back hair pulled into a pony tail near a Vancouver, Washington, coffee shop, according to prosecutors.

Kite is a California resident who sent Storro $1,000 via a PayPal account. Anytime Fitness is a Vancouver gym Storro belonged to and she worked at a Safeway store in Washougal, Washington. Both the gym and Safeway held fundraisers to contribute to Storro's treatment.

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In Washington state, theft against a person acting as a Good Samaritan is considered an aggravating circumstance.

Two-and-a-half weeks after the incident -- after several community members made donations for her treatment -- police announced that the 28-year-old grocery store employee had admitted doing the damage herself.

"She is extremely upset," said police Cmdr. Marla Schuman when she made the announcement on Thursday. "She is very remorseful. In many ways it got bigger than she expected."

In his probable cause report, Det. Wallis Stefan said that Storro had deposited at least $4,000 into her personal bank account and that accounts had been set up for her at Umpqua Bank and Riverview Savings, both in Vancouver, and that the Riverview account reportedly has about $20,000 in it. The Umpqua account was in her mother's name, Stefan said.

Stefan, the lead investigator, said his initial interviews with Storro uncovered a number of inconsistencies -- including that the chemical burns on her face appeared to have been applied and not splashed. He also learned that the alleged victim had not purchased a pair of sunglasses that night nor had she even been in the store.

Further, he wrote, he found no evidence in or around her vehicle of an acid attack and photographs of Storro's face did not match photos of other recorded acid attacks.

Storro came clean, he said, when detectives arrived at her home on September 16 to serve a search warrant.

Storro admitted buying drain cleaner at a hardware store and applying it to her face with a towel in a park restroom.

"Storro told me the reason she applied the caustic substance was to first; kill herself," Stefan wrote. "Secondly she stated, if that proved not to be fatal, then she could get her face redone."

Storro told him she "thought there would be no evidence of me doing it to myself" and that police "would give up on trying to find the person and it would be done."

Stefan said Storro acknowledged her Miranda rights and waived them before giving him a 90-minute statement.

CNN was unable to contact Storro for comment.

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