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U.S. Soldier Is Detained in Russia and Accused of Theft, Officials Say

WorldU.S. Soldier Is Detained in Russia and Accused of Theft, Officials Say

A man who has been identified by American officials as an Army sergeant was detained in Russia last week after a local woman reported him on allegations of theft, the Russian authorities said on Tuesday. He will remain in jail until at least July, they said.

The detention of the soldier, Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, 34, came to light on Monday, when the U.S. State and Defense Departments said that he was being held. He was detained in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok while he was in the process of returning home to Texas, after being stationed in South Korea.

Instead of returning directly to the United States, Sergeant Black traveled through China to Vladivostok “for personal reasons,” according to Cynthia O. Smith, a U.S. Army spokeswoman. She said that he “did not request official clearance” and that the Defense Department “did not authorize his travel to China and Russia.”

An official with the Russian Ministry of Interior informed the U.S. Embassy in Moscow last week that he had been arrested “for theft of personal property,” and the embassy and army notified his family soon after, according to a statement from Ms. Smith.

Officials in Moscow have not commented on the arrest. The press office for Vladivostok’s courts said in a statement that Sergeant Black had been detained last Thursday, but it did not respond to requests for further comment.

A Vladivostok police spokeswoman, Irina Sirova, said a 32-year-old woman reported Sergeant Black to the police when she discovered that she was missing money after a falling out with the American. Sergeant Black met the woman in South Korea and came to visit her in Russia on April 10, Ms. Sirova said in a video posted on social media.


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