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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Nagasaki District Court, Sasebo Branch, formally indicted a sailor from the USS Essex for larceny on Wednesday.

Seaman Apprentice Kenneth S. Mumma Jr., 23, a machinist’s mate, is charged with stealing a bag from a 52-year-old woman in Sasebo on Jan. 21 while she made a call on a public telephone. He was arrested 40 minutes later and had been drinking, police said.

Mumma was in “an unauthorized absentee status from the ship” when the crime took place, a base spokesman said. He will remain in Japanese custody until his trial because larceny is considered a severe crime in Japan.

A trial date has not been set, officials said Friday.

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