A New Jersey man was arrested for allegedly impersonating a soldier on Veterans Day.
Michael Porter, 25, of Galloway Township, NJ, was subsequently charged with Impersonating Military Personnel / Stolen Valor.
Porter was found dressed in a military uniform in the area of a base near Pomona Road and Atlantic Avenue.
Patrolman Gary Brenner from Galloway Township Police said that he recognized Porter as a man who had prior contact with police. Ptl. Gary Brenner said:
It was the same exact uniform that active military reserve would be wearing. He stated that he bought the uniform from Fort Dix along with all of his badges.
Department of Corrections records reveal that Porter has served time for eluding police, theft and illegal possession of a weapon, among other crimes. Brenner said:
That is how I recognized him is from prior incidents that would not allow him to be in the military.
Brenner, a veteran himself, explains that Porter was unable to produce any military ID, records, or evidence of service. According to officials, Porter claimed that he was on active duty at Fort Dix.
Porter’s girlfriend, Gennine Gunther, says she doesn’t think he was lying. Gunther said:
He’s just really wonderful, he’d do anything for anyone, he is just nothing like what they are trying to make him out to be, and it’s really sad.
Gunther added that Porter spoke to friends in the past about his service and also wore his fatigues around her before.
However, according to police, Porter committed stolen valor by pretending to be a member of the military on one of their most sacred days. Gunther said:
He would always mess around with me and grab a finger and bend me in a pretzel.
He knows how to do all of this stuff so I don’t understand what is going on right now. He knows too much to be a fraud.
According to police, Porter also had a portable radio capable of receiving transmissions from police and emergency dispatch centers along with handcuffs and keys.
He was sent to the Atlantic County Jail in lieu of $5,000 full cash bail.