Local News

Thieves steal wounded soldier's pickup

Posted April 22, 2009 6:32 p.m. EDT

— Thieves stole three vehicles from residents of the East Oaks subdivision early Tuesday, including a pickup truck owned by a wounded Iraq veteran.

Army Sgt. Ken Katter said the thieves apparently put his 1997 Ford F-250 into neutral and rolled it out of his driveway before making off with it.

The family affectionately called the truck "the black beast," and Patti Katter said her children were distraught over the theft.

"My youngest daughter, Savannah, she started crying, and my son Hunter was really upset,” Patti Katter said.

Ken Katter served as a Marine and then worked as a police officer in Michigan before enlisting in the Army four years ago and moving to the Fort Bragg area.

He was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq two years ago and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Seizures have prevented him from driving his truck for the past year.

"I was hoping to drive it soon," he said. "My daughter was going to drive it this fall, and I was going to let her use it since I can't."

The Hoke County Sheriff's Office called the three vehicle thefts unusual, noting the neighborhood near Camden and Rockfish roads has Crime Watch signs clearly posted.

One of the vehicles was recovered, but investigators said it had been set on fire. They have no suspects in the thefts.

"Now I really know what it feels like to be a victim. It's really not a good feeling," Ken Katter said.

Patti Katter called the theft "a punch in the stomach" for her husband.

"My husband fought for the freedom even of thieves. So, these guys, whoever stole his truck, my husband fought for them," she said. "He was injured for them, and this is how he gets repaid."