Japanese prosecutors asked for one-year prison sentences Wednesday in Nagasaki District Court for two Sasebo Naval Base sailors who pleaded guilty to stealing a boat.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler Montayne Dutcher, 21, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon James Kelley, 20, are accused of stealing a boat from a seafood company in Kashimae Cho in April. The prosecutor also is seeking a 100,000 yen (about $917) fine for Kelley, charged with additional counts of endangering traffic through negligence while driving the boat, according to Hitoshi Tokukatsu, Dutcher’s defense attorney.

“I think they were drunk and took the boat thinking they will ride it for few hours and return it, not taking it too seriously,” Tokukatsu said. The two sailors told the court they each presented 50,000 yen (about $464) to the boat’s owner as a token of sympathy.

They were arrested April 12 after being discovered in a fishing boat, worth about $139,000, that they allegedly stole and ran aground.

In April, a police spokesman said the key was in the ignition when the sailors took the boat and drove it about 330 yards away. An employee of the seafood company heard the engine start and contacted the company president, also the boat’s owner, whose wife called police.

The sailors are set to be sentenced July 7 in Nagasaki District Court.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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