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Sailor arrested after attempted purse snatching

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A USS George Washington sailor was arrested after he allegedly tried to snatch an elderly woman’s purse, then hit her with a basketball, police said.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Paul Villarreal, 22, was dribbling a basketball in a 64-year-old Japanese woman’s driveway when she returned about 5 p.m. Saturday to her home in Zushi, a popular beach town about 20 minutes from Yokosuka Naval Base.

The woman asked Villarreal if he was visiting one of the tenants in the three-story building that she lives in and owns, but he did not answer, a Zushi police spokesman said Monday.

Villarreal grabbed at the woman’s purse, which she held closely to her chest. He then threw the basketball, which struck and scratched the woman’s face, police said.

The woman ran into her second-floor home and called police, who arrived around 5:20 p.m. to find Villarreal still standing in the driveway.

Villarreal said he was drinking beer at the nearby beach and didn’t remember what happened or how he got to the woman’s residence, according to police.

About three hours after the arrest, a test registered Villarreal’s blood alcohol level at 0.05 percent.

Police planned to forward charges of attempted theft to the local prosecutor’s office Monday and might later recommend an assault charge, the Zushi police spokesman said.

Navy officials said Monday they were cooperating with the Japanese investigation.

Villarreal is part of a small detachment of USS George Washington sailors that remains on shore while the ship goes out to sea. The aircraft carrier left for its summer patrol last month.

Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.

slavin.erik@stripes.com
Twitter: @eslavin_stripes

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