It appears to be a dramatic case of stolen valor, caught on camera by a veteran who was at the mall shopping on Black Friday with his son.
“Don’t say anything,” Ryan Berk, 26, tells his son as he begins recording and walks up to the man, dressed in fatigues, carrying a shopping bag.
“Hey my son wants to meet you. He really admires guys in the Army.”
The man obliges. “Hey buddy, I’m Sean.”
Berk then begins to pepper the man who claims to be in the military with questions–who answers them.
“All I do is go out on missions,” he explains to Berk’s son.
Berk served as a sergeant in the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan and is a Purple Heart recipient. He says when he saw the man shopping in the mall, things didn’t look right. So he decided to confront him and record it.
During the three minute video he posted on YouTube which now has more than 2.5 million views, Berk asks where the man got the three combat infantry badges the man displayed.
The man said, “Afghanistan.”
Berk asked, “All three?” To which the man confirmed, “All three.”
Berk then said, “You know you need to be in three different campaigns to get three CIBs, right?”
Berk continues his interrogation of the man, whom he suspects is a living example of someone who is impersonating a soldier and is clear case of stolen valor.
“Why is your flag so low on your shoulder? It should be up here,” Berk said, pointing to the man’s arm.
“Got me on that one, bud,” the man answers.
But the man continued to insist that he is the real deal.
The confrontation, that unfolds in the middle of the crowded Oxford Valley Mall in Pennsylvania, deteriorates fast.
“Here it is guys. Stolen valor at its finest,” shouts Berk so passersby can hear. “He is full of sh*t wearing a United States Army uniform… claims to be a United States Army Ranger.”
The Rangers are an elite U.S. Army Special Operations Command unit.
Berk continues: “Why don’t you admit you are a phony? You know it’s illegal what you’re doing right now.
“I have worn that f*ckin’ uniform…. and I’ve had friends get killed in Afghanistan wearing that f*cking uniform… You’re full of sh*t. Stolen valor, right here.”
Sean… turns out, is Sean Yetman, who pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer in 2003.
Berk says he has no regrets calling out the man he insists is a fraud.
“I’m guessing he was trying his hand at some discounts,” says Berk.
Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania) asked the U.S. Attorney to investigate and determine whether this incident violates the Federal Stolen Valor Act.
The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime for a person to fraudulently claim having received any of a series of particular military decorations with the intention of obtaining money, property, or other tangible benefit.