A 52-year-old man was kicked in the face after being robbed of his debit card at a Bank of America ATM near the bustling Powell Street transit station Tuesday, police said.
The San Francisco resident was using the ATM in the central tourism and shopping district when the crook snatched the card around 7:25 p.m., police said.
After the victim demanded the card be returned, the crook said, "I'll sell you your card for $5," police spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield said Wednesday.
The victim got into a shoving match with the suspect, who finally gave up and threw the debit card on the pavement. The victim told cops that the crook kicked him in the face when he bent down to grab the card.
The suspect walked away after the assault, but the victim followed him and watched him enter the nearby Bristol Hotel at 56 Mason St., a four-story single resident occupancy hotel, Dangerfield said.
Responding cops entered the hotel and arrested Kevin Nobles, 43, who lives in the hotel, Dangerfield said. Nobles was detained without incident in his room and booked on charges of robbery and aggravated assault.
The victim suffered minor injuries and declined medical attention, Dangerfield said.
Tourists and residents swarm the plaza at Powell and Market streets, attracting many pandhandlers. The bank typically has security officers keeping an eye on the ATMs, Dangerfield said.
The victim of the robbery told cops he was well aware of the suspect's presence and noticed him standing 10 feet from him as he was using the ATM. After he finished his transaction, the suspect walked up next to him at the ATM and "started pushing buttons on the machine," Dangerfield said.
The suspect snagged the debit card from the machine while the victim tried to push him away.
Dangerfield said the victim was lucky he had finished the transaction. Anyone using ATMs in busy areas such as Powell Street Station should be aware of their surroundings and should immediately cancel their transaction if they feel they are about to be robbed or harassed, Dangerfield said.
"If it's not safe to get the card, leave the card," he said. "You don't want to fight over a card that can be replaced."
Police also suggest doing transaction inside the bank when the ATMs are located in areas that are dodgy or have high-traffic.
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