INDIANAPOLIS—Steve Downing holds the men and women of the armed forces at a pretty high regard.
"To me you need to go over and above for them because they've gone over and above for you."
So Tuesday morning when he spotted a man who appeared to be a soldier on the side of the road near 38th Street and 465, he did what he thought was right.
"I see a gentleman in desert fatigues - camo - carrying a gas can. I pull over to pick him up."
For the next 15 minutes, Downing learned of another man's hard times. The soldier explained he had just returned home from Iraq to find his wife had changed the locks and was now 7 months pregnant with another man's child. He needed $33 to get him to Spokane, Washington. Steve Downing stopped at an ATM and gave him $60.
He dropped the soldier here at a Holiday Inn near Michigan Road and 465, but not before the stranger left him his name, saying he would pay him back -- James Schuder.
"I went from feeling good about myself to being a little bit hunkered off."
Because when he got home Steve Downing took that name and searched it and the images and articles staring back at him were surprising to say the least.
James Schuder is an accused con man. Last summer authorities picked him up in Alcoa, Tennessee on charges of impersonating a soldier. Schuder pulled the same scam on unsuspecting drivers, was arrested, and was even put in jail for a week. Now, he's almost 400 miles away doing it all over again.
Although Steve Downing is unemployed, he says it's not the money that has him mad. It's the fact someone would tarnish a uniform so few are gracious enough to wear.
"I'd like to let other people know and I'd like to let this guy know that iIm not done looking for him yet. And if I do, in fact, find him, I will personally driver him back to Tennessee."
For his part, Downing did call state and local police to let them know what had happened. Both agencies told him they'd make a note of it.