ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A 20-year-old midshipman accused of stealing was missing today from the U.S. Naval Academy grounds, forcing the Navy to postpone the scheduled start of his court-martial, officials said.
"The reasons behind his absence are being looked into now," said Cmdr. Kendell Pease, public affairs officer at the academy.
The scheduled court-martial of Clayton Lewis of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., was the third at the academy in 63 years.
Lewis, a second-year midshipman, is charged with the theft of about $8,000 worth of clothing, record albums and other goods from the midshipmen's store.
Pease said Lewis had been restricted to a portion of the academy grounds. However, the area is open to the public, so Lewis could have simply walked off the grounds.
Lewis is charged with larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, receipt of stolen goods and an earlier unauthorized absence from the Naval Academy.