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Prosecutors accuse Marine of being caught fleeing a Japanese convenience store with a knife

An Okinawa-based Marine arrested April 18, 2024, on suspicion of attempting to rob a convenience store, was rearrested in connection with an earlier robbery at a store half a mile away.

An Okinawa-based Marine arrested April 18, 2024, on suspicion of attempting to rob a convenience store, was rearrested in connection with an earlier robbery at a store half a mile away. (Keishi Koja/Stars and Stripes)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A U.S. Marine suspected of attempted assault and robbery at an Okinawa convenience store on April 18 was formally charged Wednesday with attempted robbery, a spokesperson for the Naha County District Attorney’s Office said .

Lance Cpl. Andrew Torres, 20, of III Marine Logistics Group at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, was later arrested again on suspicion of robbing a convenience store on April 3, according to a prefectural police spokesperson from Okinawa.

After the April 18 incident, police said a man wearing black pants and a black hooded sweatshirt pulled a knife into a Lawson between 12:53 a.m. and 1:03 a.m. he went behind the counter and tried to open the cash register. The store is located in the Nodake district of Ginowan City.

The employee, watching a security camera in the back office, saw the man at the cash register, ran out of the store and called police from his cellphone, a police spokesperson said this month last. No customers were in the store at the time.

Officers arrested Torres running from the parking lot without the store’s money in his possession.

Torres has since been detained by Okinawa City police, the police spokesperson said by telephone Thursday.

After being charged Wednesday, Torres was immediately rearrested on suspicion of the April 3 convenience store robbery in Ginowan’s Aragusuku district, the police spokesperson said.

In that case, police say Torres threatened an employee with a knife and stole approximately $840 in yen.

In Japan’s justice system, prosecutors, not police, decide whether to bring charges.

Some Japanese government spokespeople are only required to speak to the media on condition of anonymity.