Japan turns over sailor to Yokosuka Naval Base

Seaman in brig awaiting charges after going AWOL for six weeks

By HANA KUSUMOTO | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 29, 2005

A USS Kitty Hawk sailor, missing from duty for about six weeks, is in the Yokosuka Naval Base brig after Japanese authorities dropped charges against him of attempted larceny and intrusion, Navy officials said Friday.

Seaman Apprentice Michael Joseph Pyper Jr., 21, of the Kitty Hawk air department, was placed in the Yokosuka brig after Japanese authorities released him, said Kitty Hawk spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt.

“It would be inappropriate to speculate on what he will be charged with, or the outcome of any proceedings,” DeWalt said.

Pyper joined the Navy about one year ago.

He was categorized as an “unauthorized absence” beginning April 1.

Japanese police arrested him May 10 after finding him rummaging through a teachers’ locker room in a Yokosuka city elementary school, police officials have said.

Prosecutors received his case the next day; however, the Yokosuka District Public Prosecutors’ Office decided May 18, to waive jurisdiction after Pyper repaid 170,000 yen (about $1,575) he took from a teacher at the school, said a prosecutors’ office spokesman.

Pyper was released, then handed over to the Navy, the spokesman added.

“The Navy and Japanese authorities continue to work closely together in the Yokosuka community,” said DeWalt.

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