Homeless Man Steals $500 Stroller, Bartenders Step In To Defend Mom

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A San Francisco woman says she returned home one day to see her baby stroller stolen, its contents dumped on the street. She was shocked when she spotted a homeless man using it to tote junk.

Kara McPhail, 40, usually chains her $500 Bob stroller to a railing outside her North Beach home. One day she returned home to find the stroller gone. It’s contents, including snacks and a baby blanket, were thrown on the ground.

The same afternoon, while visiting Washington Square with her 2-year-old son, she spotted a homeless man using her stroller as a shopping cart. McPhail told the San Francisco Chronicle it was filled with garbage bags and junk.

She says she called 911, but an operator told her they were too busy to help her and took her number for a callback.

“I freaked out, and I immediately started following him,” she said.

She kept following the man as he passed Columbus Café. Two bartenders out front asked if she was okay and when they learned her story they stopped the man.

“Literally, before I could even finish my sentence, they grabbed him right there in the street, grabbed all his stuff out of the stroller and threw it in the street,” she recalled. “They said, ‘You scumbag! You stole a mom’s stroller?’”

She grabbed the stroller and ran.

In 2011 the New York Times referred to expensive stolen strollers as an “urban bourgeois problem.” Thankfully, it’s not too bourgeois for a couple of heroic, vigilante bartenders in San Francisco.

Hours later 911 called McPhail back about the incident and asked if she would like to speak to police.

“I said, ‘No,’” she said. “I actually found some great bartenders, and we took care of it ourselves.”

Sources: San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons / US CPSC, The New York Times / Ty Cacek