A man traded a dead veteran’s stolen Purple Heart medal for a Mountain Dew drink, North Carolina officials said.
Erica Laws told news outlets she recently went to her family home and found it “ransacked” after a break-in. Officials in an incident report said at least one military medal was gone from the home near Lenoir, roughly 75 miles northwest of Charlotte.
Her father, Daniel Laws, had served in the Vietnam War, and he also earned another Purple Heart and two bronze stars that went missing, WSOC reported on Thursday.
“I felt so bad because he protected the country and I can’t even protect his memory,” she said, according to WSOC.
Now, 31-year-old Charles Carr is accused of trading one of the military medals for a Mountain Dew Code Red, according to news outlets. The medal has been recovered, according to reports.
News outlets didn’t list an attorney for Carr, and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office didn’t immediately share additional details about the case with McClatchy News.
As of Thursday, the sheriff’s office said the other medals are still missing and that Carr was wanted for obtaining property under false pretense, according to WBTV, The Charlotte Observer’s media partner. In addition to the military items, Carr is accused of stealing an ATV and items from around the house.
Purple Hearts are awarded to people who have served in combat and been injured or killed. The medals are meant to symbolize sacrifice and were first given out in 1783, the U.S. Army says on its website.
Since 1941, military members have been able to earn bronze stars if they show “heroic or meritorious achievement or service” against an enemy or “opposing foreign force,” according to officials.
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