Japanese police suspect a U.S. Marine of attempting to rob this Lawson convenience store in Ginowan, Okinawa, April 18, 2024.

Japanese police suspect a U.S. Marine of attempting to rob this Lawson convenience store in Ginowan, Okinawa, April 18, 2024. (Keishi Koja/Stars and Stripes)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japanese police have arrested a U.S. Marine on suspicion of attempted assault and robbery of a convenience store on Okinawa.

Lance Cpl. Andrew Torres, 20, was taken into custody just after 1 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot of a Lawson in the Nodake district of Ginowan city, an Okinawa prefectural police spokesman told Stars and Stripes by phone Thursday.

Torres is assigned to III Marine Logistics Group at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, a spokesman for the group, Chief Warrant Officer William Faffler, said by email Friday.

Police said a man in black pants and a black hooded sweatshirt carried a knife into the store between 12:53 a.m. and 1:03 a.m., went behind the counter and attempted to open the cash register.

The store clerk, a man in his 20s, was in the back office when, through a security camera, he saw the hooded man at the register, the police spokesman said. The clerk ran from the store and called police from his cellphone.

Police soon arrived and stopped Torres, who was in the parking lot running from the store, the spokesman said.

Torres had no money from the register, and no damages or injuries were reported, the spokesman said. No customers were in the store at the time.

Torres was still being held Friday, the spokesman said.

Some government officials in Japan may speak to media only on condition of anonymity.

Police are investigating a possible connection between this incident and another convenience store robbery in Ginowan on April 3, the spokesman said. In that case, the robber threatened the store clerk with a knife and stole about $840 worth of yen.

“We are fully cooperating with the appropriate authorities for the investigation. Due to this ongoing investigation, no further information is available at this time,” Faffler said.

The police spokesman said Torres’ case would go to prosecutors Friday. Under the Japanese judicial system, prosecutors, not police, decide whether to file charges.

“III Marine Expeditionary Force remains committed to fostering positive relationships with our local community, and the vast majority of Marines and Sailors assigned to III MEF uphold our values of honor and respect in an exemplary manner,” Faffler said. “Those who do not are held accountable.”

author picture
Keishi Koja is an Okinawa-based reporter/translator who joined Stars and Stripes in August 2022. He studied International Communication at the University of Okinawa and previously worked in education.
author picture
Jonathan Snyder is a reporter at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Most of his career was spent as an aerial combat photojournalist with the 3rd Combat Camera Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He is also a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program and Eddie Adams Workshop alumnus.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now