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Currency exchange shop in Chatan robbed

  • May 13, 2020
  • , Okinawa Times , p. 25
  • JMH Translation

Around 3:55 p.m. on May 12, two foreign-looking men walked into a currency exchange shop in Chatan, Chatan-cho. Brandishing a knife-like object, they threatened the shop attendants, took cash, and fled. There were three employees, two female and one male, staffing the shop at the time, but no one was injured. The amount of cash stolen is unknown. There is information that the two men fled by taxi. The Okinawa police are investigating the incident as a robbery and tracking down the two men who fled.


According to the Okinawa Prefectural Police Investigation Department No. 1, the two men were dressed in what appeared to be black parkas and jerseys. They were each between 160 and 170 cm tall. They apparently threatened the employees in English.


According to the police, the two men entered the store, and then one of them went behind the counter, threatened the attendant with a knife-like object, and took the cash that was nearby. According to an eyewitness account, the man grabbed a handful of bills and then fled northward from the store. It is confirmed that there were two men at the site at the time of the robbery, but there may be other accomplices.


In addition to analyzing the footage taken by the security cameras inside and outside the store, the police are seeking the assistance of the taxi company as well as the U.S. military.


The robbery took place in a commercial area with banks and restaurants along National Route 58. Because there was information that the two suspects looked foreign, U.S. forces’ military police also rushed to the scene.


“I was frightened,” said a shop employee


The incident took place about 50 meters south of the Chatan intersection on National Route 58, a heavily traveled road in Chatan, Chatan-cho. The police, U.S. military personnel, and a patrol car gathered at the site and cordoned off the area. Seeing the commotion, passersby stopped to look.


The site of the incident was a store that exchanges Japanese yen and U.S. dollars, and there were one man and two women on duty at the shop at the time of the incident. One of the female employees, who was in the bathroom at the time of the incident, said, “I heard a noise of a kind I have never heard before. I was frightened, so I didn’t leave the bathroom. I walked out once I could tell it was quiet. At that point the criminals had already fled.”


A 53-year-old man from Uruma City who was getting a haircut at the neighboring barbershop at the time could not hide his surprise: “The robbery was committed at a place with so much traffic in broad daylight!”

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