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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A USS Essex crewmember has been arrested in connection with the theft of a local Japanese woman’s wallet, the Navy confirmed Saturday.

Seaman Derrick K. Udeze, 21, was arrested at 6:03 p.m. Friday, according to a Nagasaki Prefectural Police Department spokesman.

Police said Udeze and an unidentified accomplice are accused of snatching the 21-year-old woman’s wallet at 12:20 p.m. as she was walking along a Sasebo city street.

She reported the theft to police, who located Udeze based on her description. The woman told police the wallet contained 5,000 yen, or $45.

Udeze voluntarily answered questions posed by police, who then arrested him, the police spokesman said. “As far as I know, he’s still in Japanese police custody,” Lt. Edward Sisk, Amphibious Group One spokesman, said Saturday afternoon.

Investigators are still trying to learn the identity of the other man reportedly involved in the incident, officials said. “The entire set of circumstances remains under investigation,” said Sisk. “Also, we are cooperating with local police in any way we can to resolve this issue.”

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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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