We all know how stolen valor videos go.
Act I: Poser waltzes into a business wearing a military uniform and starts bragging about their service to earn discounts and brownie points with the public.
Act II: Suspicious military veteran engages poser in conversation, often with their phone recording the event. They accuse the poser of stolen valor.
Act III: Poser is caught lying to a veteran’s face about military details he doesn’t know, walks offstage with their head hung in shame as veterans laugh in the distance.
As entertaining as they are, stolen valor tends to be pretty formulaic. That’s why this story about a fake Navy SEAL sniper inadvertently exposing his own fraud is so interesting.
Act I: Leo John Clark III walked into a Burnsville, Minn. bar on Oct. 11 and told everyone that he was a former Navy SEAL sniper.
Act II: As he was bragging about his alleged service, a patron in the bar stool next to Clark said that he thought it was really cool that Clark was a SEAL. Clark immediately became defensive and accused this stranger of not believing he was a SEAL. And then, to prove his SEAL chops, Clark held a steak knife to the guy’s throat and cut his hand.
Act III: The poser was arrested at the bar and charged with assault. With Clark in custody, the police were able to quickly confirm with the Navy that he had never served in the military at alone, let alone as a sniper for the Navy SEALs.
This whole incident was caught on the bar’s surveillance tape. If that footage is ever released, it would make one hell of a stolen valor video.