Photo by Roland
Muni rider D saw a suspicious man carrying a large empty garment bag boarding the 38-L. The whole bus went into action when they realized what he was about to do. Here’s the story.
This past Monday I was on my way home during the evening commute when I noticed a guy who was acting rather suspiciously. For starters he was carrying a Macy’s garment bag and given his appearance it just didn’t match. My observation was confirmed when I saw him open the bag, which was empty, to stuff some paper and other items inside to make it appear full.
When the outbound 38L pulled into the stop, the crowd of people waiting swarmed onto the bus, suspicious guy included. Having been pick-pocketed myself a number of years ago, I knew that thieves use items like that to cover their hands as they reach into open purses and back pockets. The bus was packed and I ended up standing right next to the suspicious guy. I stared at his hands and he saw that I was watching him. When I looked right up into his eyes, he moved away from me. Considering I’m about the size of a Hobbit, how could anyone be afraid of me?
I also noticed that he was using a small blue towel to hang onto the pole in an attempt to not leave any prints. When the bus pulled up to the Van Ness and Geary stop the driver called out, “Everyone watch out for your wallets and purses.” Everyone checked their pockets and as they did so the suspicious guy hopped off rather quickly. Sure enough, someone (I’ll call him “Philly guy”) called out, “God DAMN IT he’s got my wallet!” Several other passengers yelled out, “It’s that guy!”
“Philly guy” got off the bus with his family in pursuit.
Something in me just snapped and I got off with them and stood alongside him. With the entire bus watching “Philly guy” pointed at the suspicious guy and yelled, “HE’S GOT MY WALLET!”
With all those eyes watching, suspicious guy handed it back and said, “You dropped it….”
Suspicious guy backed away and when I whipped out my camera, snapped a pic, he REALLY took off!
At the top of my lungs, I yelled, “I’VE GOT YOUR PICTURE ASSHOLE!”
“Philly guy” checked his wallet and everything was still inside.
The driver came over and asked us if we were all right, and after confirming, he handed “Philly guy” some kind of Muni card to jot down information for the cops. We all got back on and started talking about how we’d all noticed how suspicious guy was acting. Once we got to “Philly guy’s” stop I got off with him and his family to try and find a cop to give a report. As we did, the driver let us know he’d radioed the incident in as well.
We didn’t find a cop straight away but got SFPD’s general phone number from a security guard standing near the bus stop.
I parted ways with “Philly guy” and his family and they were quite happy how things turned out. I’d like to think the positive outcome was a result of practically everyone getting involved. From our fellow passengers to the driver himself, we made a difference at least this once.
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