Three charged in thefts also called suspects in another incident
Three Americans, including a Camp Zama-based airman and the husband of a Yokota Air Base servicemember, are to be tried in September in a Japanese court in connection with three robberies.
Police said Thursday they also now suspect the three were involved in a fourth incident.
Indicted are U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Johnny Christopher Warford, 22, assigned to a 374th Communications Squadron detachment at Camp Zama; Moses Richard Emmanuel, 21, the civilian husband of a Yokota servicemember; and Mewe-Pira Oritsejolomi Oretemi Alize, a 25-year-old English teacher who lives in Fujisawa City and has no ties to the U.S. military.
They are scheduled for a Sept. 15 trial in Yokohama District Court on charges of robbery and robbery resulting in bodily injury, a court spokeswoman said.
They are accused of robbing a 31-year-old Japanese man in Yokohama City on May 13, according to a Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office spokesman. They also were indicted in early July in connection with robbing two Japanese women in Yokohama City on the same day.
According to the indictment, the three are accused of pushing a 31-year-old Japanese man to the ground in Yokohama at 2:10 a.m., holding a knife to his face, then stealing items with a cash value of about $400.
Fifty minutes later, the three allegedly accosted two women in another area of Yokohama as the women were talking on a street. They tried to steal the bag of a 32-year-old woman and made her fall, causing head injuries that required seven days of treatment, the indictment said. They also allegedly pushed the other woman, age 37, to the ground and took a handbag that contained a wallet holding about 50,000 yen (about $443) and about $62 in cash.
In a fourth incident, police suspect the three of attempting to rob a 34-year-old Japanese man shortly before the other May 13 robberies, a Kanagawa Prefectural Police spokesman said.
The man was punched from behind on a street in Yamato city around 1:15 a.m., the spokesman said. His attackers then tried to steal his backpack after threatening him with a model handgun, but the man ran away, the spokesman said.
The police were to send the attempted robbery case to prosecutors for formal charges on Friday, the spokesman said.
U.S. military police have been working with Japanese authorities to investigate the robberies.
“We are cooperating with the Japanese police and will not tolerate this type of behavior,” said Col. Scott Goodwin, 374th Airlift Wing commander. “I apologize for any anxiety the Japanese people experienced because of this incident.”
Warford is being held at the Kohoku Police Station and Emmanuel is being held at the Yamato Police Station, said Capt. Lisa Gorog of the 374th Airlift Wing’s Staff Judge Advocate office at Yokota Air Base. Alize also is being held in Japanese custody.