A Pennsylvania man might face federal charges of impersonation after being seen in a video dressed as a decorated veteran when a real veteran challenged him in a mall.
Sean Yetman, who claimed to be an Army Ranger, was confronted by former infantryman and Purple Heart recipient Ryan Berk, an exchange that was caught on camera. Berk said he suspects Yetman was using the uniform to get discounts while shopping on Black Friday at Oxford Valley Mall outside of Philadelphia.
“Where is your combat patch at?” Berk asked Yetman, in a video that has received more than 2.5 million views online.
“I gave it to a little kid,” Yetman said.
“Why is your flag so low on your shoulder?” Berk asked. “It should be up here,” he said, pointing.
“You got me on that one, bud.”
In the video, Berk calls attention to the uniform’s Combat Infantry badges, undershirt and boots, as well as the man’s declaration that he completed basic training at Fort Jackson.
Soldier impersonation cases are so common that veterans pushed for the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, which makes it a federal crime for someone to present themselves as a decorated military member “with the intent to obtain money, property or other tangible benefit.”
Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick asked the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia to consider whether Yetman should face federal charges.
In the video, Yetman insisted to Berk that he’s the real deal.
“If I was a phony, then I wouldn’t be wearing this uniform,” Yetman told Berk.
Attempts to reach Yetman for comment were not successful.
For Berk, the situation takes away from the efforts of his fellow service members.
“It’s frustrating, because you serve with good men who have either lost their loves or been seriously wounded who earned that uniform,” he said.