Detectives Reunite Veteran With Stolen Purple Heart Medal

An encounter with a nervous man in a stolen SUV led police to recover a Vietnam veteran’s stolen Purple Heart medal over the weekend.

The SUV’s driver caught the attention of officers around 5 AM on July 30th after he rolled through a stop sign near Dexter Way North and Dexter Avenue North in a black Dodge SUV.

Officers Adam Fowler and Noah Winningham began following the vehicle, which abruptly pulled over a few blocks away.

Police contacted the 39-year-old driver, who appeared nervous, admitted the SUV wasn’t his, and didn’t know the name of the vehicle’s owner. Officers soon discovered the SUV was stolen, as were its temporary license tags, and noticed the driver had a can of pepper spray tucked between his legs.

Officers Fowler and Winningham arrested the driver—who also had a felony warrant—without incident and searched the SUV and found a scale, cash, and a collection of military clothing, pins, and a Purple Heart medal.

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Police booked the suspect for possession of stolen property and his warrant and SPD’s Major Crimes Taskforce took up the case to help track down the medal’s owner.

After researching recent reports involving stolen medals, Major Crimes detectives found the items had been stolen from a Vietnam-era Marine Corps veteran in a carprowl near his Ballard home.

Detectives have contacted the man and are now working to reunite him with his medal and other stolen items.