Brave Muni rider helps thwart theft attempt

Courtesy PhotosCecilia Ollison

He’s the Muni mediator.

Early Wednesday morning, police said, a bold Muni passenger intervened in a violent bus mugging by grabbing a stolen wallet from a woman who was robbing another woman. However, the unidentified good Samaritan apparently was not totally certain who was the robber and who was the victim. So he briefly halted the criminal act to find out.

“He told [the suspect] that he’s going to check the ID in the wallet to determine who it belonged to,” police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said Thursday.

The ordeal unfolded about 8:40 a.m. on a downtown-bound 14-Mission bus that was passing through 16th and Mission streets, Shyy said. The 38-year-old victim felt a tug on her jacket and stood up, Shyy said. The suspect, who was accompanied by a male accomplice, had allegedly been trying to snatch the wallet from the ?victim’s purse.

But when the victim caught on, Shyy said, the suspect ripped off her necklaces and pushed her to the ground.

During the struggle that had other passengers screaming for police, one rider decided to get involved.

“A citizen on the bus, a man, noticed the altercation and actually grabbed the wallet from the suspect’s hand,” Shyy said.

However, the man was unsuccessful in returning the wallet to its rightful owner. The female aggressor reportedly swiped the wallet back from the man and fled the bus with her male accomplice.

But that citizen remains the hero, police said, as his call to 911 ultimately led to arrests.

Cecilia Ollison, 49, and Joseph Athcan, 51, both San Francisco residents, were spotted walking southbound on 16th Street, Shyy said.

Ollison was booked on robbery and conspiracy charges, a probation violation and three active warrants. Athcan, who when detained was found with a large amount of cash believed to belong to the robbery victim, was booked on charges of conspiracy and possession of stolen ?property.

The wallet and a necklace were returned to the victim, who was not injured in the melee.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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