Man trying to help robbery victims gets stabbed in back

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A Good Samaritan was reportedly stabbed near Union Square on Wednesday afternoon while attempting to detain a suspected pickpocket.

About 3 p.m., the thief allegedly stole items from two passengers on a southbound 45-Union/Stockton Muni bus and then hopped off at Mason and Geary streets. A wallet was swiped from a 22-year-old woman and a cell phone was taken from a 42-year-old woman, Officer Albie Esparza said.

The victims, according to witnesses, followed the man off the bus and asked him to return their belongings. He reportedly denied having them and became defensive before walking south on Mason Street.

That’s when a Good Samaritan who was walking his dogs got involved, witnesses said.

The bystander, described as a 31-year-old man, reportedly grabbed the suspect by his shirt and pinned him against a wall. However, the suspect fought back and got away.

The helpful man was reportedly stabbed in the back during the scuffle, but the injury was not considered life-threatening.

Dennis Martinez, a parking attendant at a garage near the bus stop, called police and followed the suspect for several blocks, watching him turn onto O’Farrell Street and then Taylor Street. Martinez said a police dispatcher convinced him to give up the pursuit.

Martinez said he didn’t know the Good Samaritan had been stabbed until he returned to the crime scene.

“This is just a perfect example of not to stick your nose in situations you don’t belong in,” Martinez said. “I was so close to jumping in … but I’m so thankful that I didn’t.”

A bloody folding knife found in the 400 block of Mason Street will be tested for fingerprints, Esparza said.

No arrests had been reported as of Thursday, Esparza said.

“Although it’s a great, commendable thing [to help people], you never know who you are going up against, their mental state, their demeanor, whether they have weapons,” Esparza said. “These people have just committed a crime. Clearly they disregard public safety.”

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