A Shoals man faces charges after police say he lied about being a prisoner of war so he could get things for free.
William Travis Tucker is charged with stolen valor and forgery. He was indicted by a Colbert County grand jury and arrested on Friday, Nov. 27.
Sheffield police told WAAY 31 that Tucker did serve in the Army but never during a time of war. They say he wasn't a Purple Heart or Silver Star recipient.
Police say he also was never a prisoner of war like he claimed to be and he benefited off those claims.
"Theft of valor devalues what men and women have fought for and it devalues what they've done," said Sheffield Police Lt. Ray Terry.
Terry said he got a tip that led him to look into Tucker. He said he got free prisoner of war tags from the Colbert County Probate Office.
"He presented a false document to the probate office that was forged to obtain those POW tags," said Terry. "I was shocked that someone would go to that great length to create a false document to continue a false persona."
Terry said even though Tucker has been charged and arrested, this case remains an active investigation. Officials also said Tucker claimed to be a Purple Heart and Silver Star recipient, and allegedly bought a Purple Heart off the internet to go along with his story.
"We are still building intel to support our case and we've discovered other cases as well," said Terry.
Navy Veteran Michael Russum served 16 years in the Navy and numerous wars. To find out that Tucker is accused of lying about his military career is disappointing to him to say the least.
"It's a terrible thing because there are so many people that have trouble getting what he's been getting that were actually in the service," said Russum.
At the VFW in Sheffield, service flags proudly hang and veterans' pictures are all over the walls honoring those who served. Russum said he can't understand why anyone would lie about his military accomplishments and hopes Tucker faces the full force of the law if he's found guilty.
"It's hard to imagine somebody doing that," said Russum.
Tucker was arrested and bonded out on $8,000 after his arrest. If you have any information on Tucker that could be useful to police, contact Lt. Terry at email@example.com.