A burglar broke into a North Carolina home and stole a Vietnam vet’s Purple Heart medal – which he traded for a two-liter bottle of soda, authorities said.
Charles Aaron Carr, 31, is being sought by deputies for allegedly breaking into a Caldwell County home and swiping the Purple Heart of Vietnam vet David Laws, who died in 2016, WSOC reported.
Erica Laws said she kept her father’s two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Star medals and nearly 12 other war accolades he received after two tours of duty next to ashes at the family’s home, where Carr allegedly broke into several weeks ago, deputies said.
“It was awful,” Laws told the station. “I mean, it hurts more than anything. You just feel violated because they went through everything.”
Investigators said Carr traded one of pilfered Purple Hearts for a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew Code Red, WBTV reported. The person who received it altered authorities after seeing news reports of the incident, leading to Laws getting it back, according to WSOC.
Investigators are still looking for one of the Purple Hearts, as well as Laws’ Bronze Stars, according to WBTV.
Erica Laws, who is a cancer survivor, said the home was completely “ransacked” by a suspect who also made off with a dummy grenade, a television and tossed a memorial flag on the floor. An ATV was also stolen and investigators believe it’s likely being put up for sale.
“It just got me right here because you can’t replace it,” Laws said of the still-missing Purple Heart and Bronze Stars. “I felt so bad because he protected the country and I can’t even protect his memory.”
Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to call the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 758-2324.