The police arrive.

It happened as fast as it takes to download a new app for the iPad.

Sije Pederson was standing near 22nd and Mission streets at around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, when a thief jerked the MacBook Pro box out of her hands and started to run north on Mission Street.

The 30-something from Norway ran after the mugger, grabbed the box that held her Mac – one she had purchased only an hour earlier in downtown San Francisco – and tussled with the thief, she said.

“He was starting to yell, I tried to pull it from him, then he pulled it,” she told police who arrived 20 minutes after the attack.

She fell as the mugger tried to twist the box away from her, she said. “I dropped it and then he dropped it as well,” she said.

Sije Pederson and a friend as they talk to police.

Pederson told police that she thinks the mugger realized that another young man had noticed what was happening and had started to run after him.

The thief took off, and turned east on 21st street, she said. “I lost him,” said the young helper, who declined to give his name. “He was just another drugged out” guy.

The suspect was wearing black jeans and a black hoodie with a yellow patch, the witness said.

Pederson said she was worried that her computer was damaged. She leaves tomorrow for Mexico.

Correction: An earlier version of the story reported that it was an iPad, but a reader wrote in saying it was a MacBook Pro and a comparison between the two boxes says that the reader was right.

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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  1. Times are crazy Yo! Last week i saw a girl get mugged right in front of me. The guy just ran up to her, punched her and took her purse. Poor girl. Be aware of your surroundings everyone and be careful.

  2. What idiot stands on 22nd and Mission with an Apple box out in full view? I hope she gets more street smart before she encounters trouble in Mexico.

  3. All: I apologize if my phrasing gave any of you the impression that I was tying to be ‘so down’ as Chunky put it. I assure you, I don’t go looking for street cred in online forums. I’m just writing like I talk. Blame state school, I guess.

    To clarify; she didn’t deserve it. No one deserves it. That said, it’s not surprising that this happened and I’d honestly question whether or not it’s even newsworthy.

    Chunky: I’m not normalizing or justifying theft. I’m describing it. She did in fact get got, no? The large population of addicts in this neighborhood and their shortage of cash is what makes this sort of occurrence normal. The fact that you’ve got a hostel frequented by bright-eyed European tourists with $2,000 laptops under their arms that’s a quick stroll from one of the most drug-addled intersections in the city certainly doesn’t help either.

    I know you’re not dull enough to believe that there’s no middle ground between Walnut Creek style naivete and “Mad Max lifestylin'” as you put it. For anyone who’s not clear, it’s called vigilance and common sense. In this instance, Sije lacked both. Live and learn. I’m sure she’ll take this lesson with her to Mexico.

    Anyway, you’re absolutely right. It *is* a good thing she or the guy who was playing hero didn’t get hurt worse. Chasing after someone who just had the audacity to snatch a laptop out of your hands is one of the dumbest moves possible. At the risk of offending Dean, they’re lucky they didn’t get stabbed.

    Dean: It abolutely breaks my heart that you think I’m a douche. I hope you’ll let me in someday. I just want you to love me.

  4. Buish. You forgot 7. Getting held down from paperwork due to excessive force against citizens like you.

  5. Enough with the snarky comments and stop blaming the victim. You don’t sound smart or witty or cool. You just sound like a douche.

  6. B: Way to normalize and justify theft. “You got got.” Nice. You are so down. You’re basically saying she asked for it. Living in a city doesn’t have to mean “Mad Max” lifestylin’.

    I hope the cops get the thief, and I’m very glad Sije and the good citizens who helped her didn’t get hurt worse. Yes, you shouldn’t advertise such an expensive and easily stolen item, I agree. But she didn’t deserve it, even if she was naive.

  7. OK, so it’s a shame she got knocked down and all, but why is no one here questioning the intelligence of posting up at 22nd and Mission with a brand new laptop tucked under your arm like the morning paper? I realize Norway’s probably got some sort of one laptop per crackhead program that makes this kind of behavior a non-issue there. But, Jesus, welcome to the city, Astrid. You got got. Allow me to echo (though less earnestly) the sentiments of my boy John a couple of comments up. Best of luck to her in Mexico. I hope she has the good sense to cop a bag for that thing before she gets on the plane. My advice; make it look as little like a laptop bag as possible. Just saying.

  8. I know the guy that tried to help, and it did not take the police 20 minutes to arrive once they were called. There was a delay in Pederson calling the police because she did not have a cell phone of her own. She had to borrow one.

  9. 20 minutes for police to arrive.

    TO DO List:
    1. double-double animal style
    2. fresh brewed cup of dunkin donuts coffee
    3. quik stop market
    a) copy of cosmo and better home and gardens
    b) beer nuts
    4. pick up dry cleaned uniform
    5. stop at gas station to check tire pressure and car wash
    6. respond to theft
    6a. forgot gps. got lost in the mission

  10. Congrats to Pederson for standing tall and strong against the mugger. Best of luck to her in Mexico.