CHEROKEE CO. Ga. (WXIA) -- After a six-week investigation, Cherokee CountySheriff's detectives have arrested former officer Shane Ladner, 41, ofCanton, for faking his Purple Heart award.
Ladner was among the veterans injured when the float they were ridingon in a parade in Midland, Texas last year was struck by a train.Ladner's wife was seriously injured and lost a leg in the same accident.
Ladner has been charged with four counts of theft by deception, onecount of false swearing, and one count of false statement to a policeofficer. The theft by deception charges are from Ladner receiving aPurple Heart license plate in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. When he appliedfor the license plate in 2009, he was required to swear that he was aPurple Heart recipient, hence the false swearing charge. The falsestatement charge is from lying to detectives during an interview.
Ladner's attorney John Cook releasedthe followingstatement Wednesday afternoon:
"We're disappointed that law enforcement authorities felt theneed to arrest Shane Ladner today, especially in the manner that ithappened, a traffic stop on the side of the road. This arrest serves nopurpose other than to continue to traumatize Shane and Meg Ladner, bothof whom are still recovering from last year's train accident. We areconfident in our ability to defend Shane against these charges and planto do so. All along, our investigation has shown that, in fact, Shanedid receive a Purple Heart for injuries received in service to hiscountry. When all of the information finally comes to light, plenty ofpeople will owe Shane an apology."
The US Army says they have no record of form that Ladner presented to obtain his Georgia Purple Heart license plate.
Ladner is out of the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on a $23,100 bond.