WATCH ABOVE: While shopping on Black Friday, a former Army Ranger spotted a man in the uniform he used to wear. But he noticed something wrong on the uniform and confronted him.
TORONTO – A decorated Afghanistan veteran confronted a man dressed as an Army Ranger who he believed was a “fake” at a Pennsylvania shopping mall on Black Friday and posted video of the incident which has garnered millions of views online.
Twenty-six-year-old Ryan Berk spotted the man dressed in camouflage fatigues at the Oxford Valley Mall and became suspicious with the inconsistencies in his uniform.
Berk, a Purple Heart recipient and served in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, noticed the American flag patch was in the wrong place and the man was wearing three Combat Infantryman Badges (CIBs) on his shoulder – an extremely rare honour.
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In the video, Berk approached the man who was shopping at the time with his cellphone camera and began asking questions.
“Where did you get your three CIBs at?” asked Berk.
“Afghanistan,” the man replied.
Berk then informs the man that to get the rare medals would have required participation in three separate military campaigns.
“His responses to my questions were just a dead giveaway,” Berk told NBC news.
According to the U.S military there is no record of the man having served in the military or in the reserves.
Berk uploaded the video on Sunday to the Stolen Valor YouTube account where it has received more than 2.3 million views.
The account belongs to the Guardian of Valor, a blog for active and veteran soldiers who are looking to expose impostors claiming military service or medals.
Anthony Anderson, who runs the website, told Global News it’s become increasingly common for people to walk around in military uniform since the changes to “The Stolen Valor act of 2005.”
“It’s actually an epidemic in the U.S. It’s not illegal to walk around in a uniform anymore. It’s only illegal if they gain something of tangible benefit while wearing a uniform,” he said.
READ MORE: More pressure for fake soldier to explain himself
Anderson, who served with the military in Afghanistan, said it is not uncommon for soldiers who have served to approach people in uniform and talk about where they have been. He said receiving three CIBs is almost unheard of.
“In order to receive three CIBs he would have had to have served in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Anderson.
On Monday, U.S Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick asked the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia to investigate if there was evidence of a federal crime, according to the Bucks County Courier Times.
“To have this guy pretend he has done the same thing on the calibre that my friends did just gets you infuriated,” said Berk.
The story of the “fake” soldier is similar to 32-year-old Franck Gervais, the man accused of impersonating a Canadian soldier during a Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa.
Gervais has been charged with four offences, including two separate counts of impersonating a public officer and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 9.