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St. Lucie County man accused of posing as decorated member of military

Posted at 2:34 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 04:42:08-05

A Port St. Lucie man is under arrest after deputies say he pretended to be a decorated member of the military.

According to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, 56-year-old Cary Haerlin fraudulently obtained and wore medals, badges and ribbons that portrayed him as a decorated member of the U.S. Marines.

Among them: a National Defense Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation and a Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Award, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies say Haerlin did serve in the Marines, but never in combat deployment or overseas, and was discharged in 1986 under conditions other than honorable, with the rank of Private First Class.

“Valor is earned,” said Sheriff Ken Mascara. “The men and women who served our country are owned the deepest respect. They worked hard and risked everything to protect us. It is now our job to protect them and their honor.”

Deputies arrested Haerlin on Sunday. He's facing several charges including unlawful use of uniforms, medals, or insignia, as well as grand theft and uttering a forged instrument.