CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — One active-duty and one former Marine were in Okinawa police custody Monday after separate incidents.

According to Okinawa prefectural police, Pvt. Romane Jamelle Preston, 20, of Camp Kinser, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of stealing a purse containing about 19,000 yen (about $160) from a 33-year-old woman at a disco in the Kumoji district of Naha. Preston allegedly took the purse, which was left on a chair when the woman went to a restroom, then left the bar and rummaged through the bag for cash, according to the police report.

He then threw the bag away, the report said, and returned to his seat, where police apprehended him at 4:40 a.m. after an eyewitness identified him. The purse was recovered.

The police spokesman said Preston initially admitted to the crime but changed his story when questioned at the Naha police station. The theft case was sent to the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday.

The second case involved Brandon R. McQuillen, 22, identified by the police spokesman as a former Marine, who has been in police custody since Aug. 31 on charges he attacked a 33-year-old man with pepper spray on Aug. 30 in the Misato district of Okinawa City and stole a tobacco case worth about $3.

On Friday he was charged with attacking a 29-year-old woman in a similar manner on Aug. 19 in the same neighborhood and stealing a purse containing 20,400 yen (about $175). The case was forwarded to the prosecutor’s office Sunday.

McQuillen, who faces two charges of robbery by force, told police he had decided to remain on Okinawa with his Japanese wife after being discharged from the Marine Corps in June 2005. The police spokesman said McQuillen told them the couple lived in a car.

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