Two sailors detained in theft of Okinawa taxi
Two sailors in Okinawa were being held by Japanese police Monday, accused of commandeering a taxi Sunday on Okinawa City’s Gate 2 Street, according to Navy and Okinawan officials.
Held were petty officers Jose Manuel Alaniz, 21, and Sean Travis Markowski, 20, both assigned to Camp Shields with Mobile Construction Battalion 74, according to a duty officer of the Okinawa prefectural police in Okinawa City. NMCB 74 is deployed to Camp Shields from Gulfport, Miss.
A Navy spokeswoman for Fleet Activities Okinawa confirmed Monday that two sailors, both 3rd class petty officers from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, were being held by Japanese police as of Monday afternoon. The two had met with Navy lawyers and had not been officially charged, she said.
According to Okinawa City police, the two men got into a taxi on Gate 2 Street at 3:35 a.m. Sunday, and Markowski, who was in the back seat, began swearing at the driver. When the driver got out of the taxi in an attempt to remove the “undesirable passenger” from his car, Alaniz, who was in the passenger’s seat, quickly moved to the driver’s seat and sped away.
Responding to a report from the cab driver, police searched the area and spotted the taxi on Highway 74 in Chibana district of Okinawa City, he said. The sailors were stopped and arrested at 3:45 a.m., after the cab driver identified them. Police sent the case to the Naha Public Prosecutor’s Office Monday afternoon, the police official said.