Former airman who escaped custody is extradited
Luxembourg authorities on Wednesday extradited a former Spangdahlem, Germany, airman accused of stealing $110,000 worth of U.S. military property.
Airman Basic Douglas L. Saferite Jr. escaped base authorities in March 2000 prior to his originally scheduled court-martial. He was being held Thursday at the Mannheim Correctional Facility.
Saferite was tried in absentia during a July 2000 court-martial and found guilty of stealing, attempting to sell and selling computer servers, processors and laptops. The former 52nd Communications Squadron senior airman was sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, confinement for six years, a fine of $14,565 and reduction to the grade of E-1.
Saferite, who worked at Spangdahlem’s computer network center, was arrested in December 1999 after investigators used bank receipts and other evidence to link him to the computer thefts.
On March 2, 2000, however, Saferite escaped from the guarded Spangdahlem barracks where he was awaiting court-martial. He had tied two bed sheets to the bed in his third-floor room and made his way out the window to the ground.
He eluded arrest for more than a year before an anonymous caller to the Office of Special Investigations Center at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., told agents he had been in an Internet chat room with one of Saferite’s relatives, who confirmed that Saferite was in Luxembourg, where he was living with his wife and son, who are from that country.
Saferite was arrested there on July 23, 2001.
Air Force investigators and lawyers waited for his extradition to Germany, where he would serve his sentence. But a Luxembourg court annulled the arrest order on Aug. 3, 2001, on a technicality. Since then, U.S. authorities have been working with Luxembourg officials to have Saferite extradited to Germany.