27 Investigates: Veteran accused of not earning Purple Heart Plates

Warren, Ohio (WKBN) – A man from Warren is behind bars accused of forging his discharge papers to get special license plates.

Keith Chandler, 33, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of tampering with records. Prosecutors said he forged his DD214 papers claiming he was injured in combat overseas in order to get Purple Heart license plates.

Warren City Law Director Greg Hicks, who is also a veteran, is disgusted by Chandler’s actions.

“Those who did deserve the honor and someone should not take away from that or belittle it or make it less than it is by attempting to get it themselves when it is not deserved,” said Hicks.

Local veterans said Chandler’s actions are a slap in the face to anyone who has made such a sacrifice.

“I find that sad that someone would go and do that. You know so many individuals that were in the combat theatre didn’t get to come home and put a plate on their car,” said Herman Breuer, veteran service commission director.

Purple Heart recipient Gary Gutelius agrees with Breuer. Gutelius received his Purple Heart after being wounded in the Vietnam War. He is also a junior vice commander for the Military Order of the Purple Hearts.

“I can’t believe he would do this knowing he was in the military and knows what we went through. That is what hurts,” Gutelius said.

Members of the various veteran agencies said they plan to be at Chandler’s future court hearings to let him know they are upset.

Chandler was fired on Monday from his job as internet sales and leasing consultant at Sims Buick in Warren. Owners said it was because of an unrelated matter.

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