Bellingham tax preparer sentenced for ‘outrageous’ stalking of ex-girlfriend

BELLINGHAM — A Bellingham accountant pleaded guilty Thursday to stalking his ex-girlfriend by gluing her home’s doors shut, turning off the gas, cutting her phone and cable lines, and dumping paint remover all over her car.

Charles Lysander Storrs IV, 54, harassed the woman for almost a year and a half before police had enough evidence to arrest him.

Starting in early 2011, she noticed strange things happening around her house. First, someone switched off her natural gas valve in the middle of winter. Two months later her cable line was cut. A month after that she found the telephone line had been snipped, too. One of her car tires got flattened with a nail in June 2011, and she found several puncture marks.

The woman called the cops later that month, naming Storrs as a suspect, after she found someone had put a bumper sticker on her car and glued the doorknob of her house shut with super glue. Police interviewed Storrs. He didn’t admit to anything.

For the rest of the summer, things were quiet. Then in September 2011, the woman found her sliding glass door glued shut with PVC glue. The woman eventually moved to a new house in Bellingham, but the stalking didn’t stop. The gas valve got shut off two more times and, in the summer of 2012, video cameras caught clear images of Storrs pouring paint remover on the woman’s car, causing more than $3,000 in damage.

On Thursday, the victim told Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Deborra Garrett that for the past two years she couldn’t come home without checking to see if something had been changed or vandalized.

“It was an outrageous type of stalking that was perpetrated,” said Deputy Prosecutor Eric Richey.

Garrett sentenced Storrs to 20 days of jail alternatives and 80 hours of community service for stalking, a gross misdemeanor. The sentence includes suspended jail time.

Storrs told Garrett he accepted the terms of a plea deal because he works as a private tax preparer, and he couldn’t keep doing that with a felony on his record.