Two Marines suspected in assault, robbery
January 9, 2008
OKINAWA CITY — Two Marines assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma were in Okinawa police custody Monday for allegedly robbing and beating a cab driver, according to the prefectural police department in Okinawa City.
Cpl. Joseph Wayne Riddle, 20, and a 19-year-old private first class, whose name was not released because he is considered a minor under Japanese law, are suspected of attacking a 59-year-old cab driver around 3:40 a.m. Monday in Okinawa City’s Mihara district, according to a police spokesman.
Marine spokesman Gunnery Sgt. Charles Albrecht said the incident is under investigation by military and local police. He had no further details Monday evening.
According to the police report, the two men assaulted him with a whiskey bottle and wooden plank when the driver asked them for the fare of 2,780 yen (about $25).
The assailants then fled, but police arrested the two Marines after seeing them in the area and noting they matched the descriptions given by the cabbie, the police spokesman said.
The driver told police the two men hailed his taxi at a convenience store near Camp Foster’s Kitamae Gate and told the driver to take them to an entertainment district in Misato section of Okinawa City. When the taxi arrived at the destination, they asked the driver to circle around the district for about 20 minutes, according to the spokesman.
The driver became suspicious and stopped the car in the Mihara district of the city and asked them to pay for the fare, the spokesman said.
The driver told police the men got out of his cab and pretended to search their pockets for money and then suddenly turned on him and punched him, the police spokesman said.
The driver said he managed to get out of his cab and run, but the two men chased him and struck him with a bottle and piece of wood, according to police.
The police spokesman said the cabbie sustained cuts to his head and bruises on his left arm, which would require about a week to heal.
Under police questioning, the 19-year-old Marine admitted his involvement, while Riddle denied he took part in the beating, the police spokesman said.