A nun was robbed and assaulted in front of at least a dozen witnesses yesterday morning as she was boarding a Mass Transit Administration bus in West Baltimore with a mentally handicapped woman she was escorting.
Sister Patricia Ann Rogucki, 47, who lives at St. Peter the Apostle Church on Poppleton Street, said she and the woman were waiting for the bus in the 2400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue about 7:30 a.m.
A man waiting at the stop stepped in front of them as the bus pulled up, she said. But when the bus driver opened the door, the man stepped behind Sister Patricia Ann, as if to let her and the woman go ahead. Then he grabbed her bag, pulled her scarf and ran off, she said.
The nun, who was not wearing a habit, started screaming.
"No one but the handicapped and mentally retarded woman I was with asked me if I was all right," she said. "I don't see how the driver or the people on the bus could not have seen it."
At a loss over what to do, Sister Patricia Ann got on the bus and rode it to another stop.
"I kind of sarcastically said to the driver and the people: 'Gee, you all were so helpful,' " she said.
Somehow their silence seemed to be the most frightening part for the nun, who works at an adult learning center at St. Peter's.
"No one said anything to me," she said. "I couldn't believe it."
Although the driver of the bus has a phone and could call police, Sister Patricia Ann did not ask him to -- and he did not offer, she said.
Helen L. Dale, MTA spokeswoman, said the incident is under investigation.
"It is our policy when the passenger asks for assistance, they are required to respond," she said.
"That's why there is a phone in the vehicle."
Sister Patricia Ann, who was escorting the handicapped woman to a new job, said she rode the bus to a stop near police headquarters and reported the incident.
The plastic bag she was carrying contained a coffee mug, a comb, some hand lotion and a pen, but no money.
"That's going to be one disappointed robber," she said.