August 11, 2006


Let me start by saying I am okay.

Wednesay evening on Franklin street as I walked home from work I was mugged for my iPod. At 5:20 pm (bright daylight, busy street, clear wide sidewalk), between Eddy and Turk (you might have parked near there to go to the movies, or the bookstore a couple blocks away, or stopped to get gas, and if you have you probably didn't think twice), a man approached me from behind and tapped my right shoulder. I assumed it must be a friend and as I turned to see who it was, he put his right arm around my neck and pressed his body against mine. I was terrified he might try to rape me, and started to scream in short bursts over and over.

He said, "Give me your iPod or I'll cut you." I hadn't seen any knife, so I thought he said this just to scare me, but I was already scared enough. He pushed me to my hands and knees, and I saw my headphones on the ground and thought my iPod must be on the ground too. He kept demanding the iPod anyway, and telling me to stop screaming. I didn't even try to stop screaming. I tried to scream directly at people in cars, in the four lanes of rush-hour traffic just a few feet away, but no one stopped.

Finally I realized my iPod was still in my pocket, and had to struggle to get it out since he had me pinned a bit. I threw it on the ground, and he grabbed it and jogged off. He didn't ask for my wallet or my bag, just the iPod. I got up and ran to the corner and saw him run down Turk to Van Ness and turn left.

I wasn't screaming anymore, but I had my arms out and was making freaky noises. I looked directly at a bicyclist hoping it would get him to stop, and a woman parked and ran down to us, and another guy came over from across the street. I called 911 and told them I'd been robbed. While I was on the phone, the bicyclist handed me his tshirt and told me to press it against my neck. I didn't know why until I touched my neck and saw blood on my fingers. When I told the 911 dispatcher that the mugger must have cut my neck, things got going a little faster.

The police came in about four or five minutes, and suddenly I desperately wanted to call a friend. I did that while the police took statements from witnesses. It was about this time I decided it was a good thing my jacket was still tied around my waist, because I realized I had peed myself a little bit. Awesome! The police said that this is an extremely common area for car break-ins, but not at all common for muggings. They said that my experience was unusually violent for an iPod theft. I told them the man had dark black skin, and I put him at about 5' 10", 150 lbs. He was behind me the whole time so I never saw his face.

The ambulance came about five minutes later and they made me get in and sit down. I had originally wanted to just walk home and then go to the hospital on my own. That was totally out of the question. Then I told them I just wanted to go to the ER by my house. They said they could do that, but highly recommended I go to the trauma unit at SF General just in case of any unknown internal bleeding. Apparently as a victim of a violent crime all medical bills from the event would be paid for. I decided I better just shut up and that this was not a normal everyday occurrence. They don't fuck around with knife wounds to the neck and you do not wait before being seen. I was given trauma patient name Oscar and rushed to the trauma unit.

The wound is shallow and not life threatening (the tetanus shot hurts a lot more than the cut), but it did require 13 stitches. I feel a little bit like Frankenstein. General consensus was that I was extremely lucky (the head ER doc said I was so lucky I should go buy a lottery ticket. I said no, actually, if I was lucky, I wouldn't have been knifed).

I was told at the hospital that there were 6 cars out looking for the guy. The police have called me three times so far to ask me for details and say they are trying to see if a witness can help them with a sketch. I have given them the serial number for my iPod, told them it is engraved on the back, and tried to answer their questions about what he was wearing. I got the impression at the scene that the police were seriously pissed off at the level of violence, and that this guy was not going to fare well if they caught up to him.

As a side note, I did not have white headphones, and with my hair being long and wearing a black sweater, and having the iPod in my pocket, it means he must have followed me for a block or more and seen me look at it before I'd put it away.

I do have some of the best pals a girl could have though, because it hadn't even been 24 hours before they took up a collection and hand delivered a new iPod to my door. FIve friends showed up at the hospital, and I'd only asked one of them to come.

I would ask that anyone who buys a used iPod try to get some kind of proof of ownership before they purchase it. It might seem like a great idea to buy a cheap iPod online, but try to remember, it might have come from someone like me.

Posted by allison at August 11, 2006 05:36 PM | TrackBack