OKINAWA CITY — A 23-year- old former Marine was in Okinawan police custody Thursday on suspicion of robbing a cab driver.

A spokesman for Okinawa prefectural police said Errol Jackson, who claimed he had been discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps last month and remained on the island on a tourist visa, was taken into custody about 6:30 a.m. in Okinawa City.

He is being held on suspicion of committing a robbery resulting in bodily injury.

According to the police report, Jackson hailed a cab in Okinawa City’s Chuo district, a popular club area near Kadena Air Base, around 3:45 a.m. and directed the 55-year-old driver to the Yaejiima district of the city, a residential area. After telling the cabbie to stop, police allege, Jackson grabbed him from behind with one arm and punched him three times in the head.

The cab driver ran away to call for help. When he returned to his car with police, they discovered a coin box in the front of the car had been forced open and about 7,500 yen or $65.80 in coins was missing.

Jackson was picked up as a suspect about 6:30 a.m., when a police officer spotted a man matching the robber’s description buying a beverage from a vending machine.

He possessed a large amount of Japanese coins and was taken to the Okinawa City prefectural police station for further questioning.

Jackson, who did not appear to be inebriated, later admitted to the robbery, the police spokesman said.

A felony charge of robbery involving bodily injury was expected to be forwarded to the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday.

According to the police report, the driver sustained several bruises and minor cuts to his head.

A fist-sized piece of concrete was found in the back of the cab and may have been used in the attack, the police spokesman said.

The police spokesman said Jackson had been staying in the Teruya district of Okinawa City and was unemployed.

He did not have information concerning the suspect’s address in the United States or his former rank and Marine unit on Okinawa.

He would not comment on whether the case was connected with the robbery of a cab driver on Camp Foster last weekend.

Marines on Okinawa had no comment or information concerning the incident late Thursday.

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