WATCH: Heroic SEPTA Bus Driver Jumps Out of Vehicle to Chase Down Thief

Police say Charles Arterbury stopped a man who grabbed a woman's purse.

SEPTA has released surveillance footage of a courageous bus driver who it says stopped an attempted purse theft on June 20th. The driver, Charles Arterbury, jumped off the bus to chase down the assailant early in the morning, police said.

The incident happened at 29th Street and Girard Avenue around 4:40 a.m. According to law enforcement officials, a woman was waiting to board the bus when a man approached her and grabbed her purse. After a struggle, she was flung to the ground. Police said Arterbury chased after the thief, subdued him with the help of two passengers, and then called 9-1-1.

“It was directly related to the courageous acts of Mr. Arterbury that police responded quickly and were able to make a successful apprehension here,” said SEPTA Police Captain Charles Lawson.

Arterbury, who has worked for SEPTA for 28 years, said he had never seen anything like this before. But he didn’t have any second thoughts about helping out.

“I didn’t think about it,” said Arterbury. “If I would have thought about it, I wouldn’t have done it, but I think about my mom, my wife, my daughters.”

Captain Charles Lawson of the SEPTA police, left, with bus driver Charles Arterbury.

Captain Charles Lawson of the SEPTA police, left, with bus driver Charles Arterbury. | Photo by Brian Thomas

Arterbury said June 20th was his first morning on that schedule. He’s become familiar with the regular riders on the route throughout this week, and although he hasn’t seen the victim since, he said he saw her on her ride home on the afternoon of the attack. The passengers applauded Arterbury when he got back.

SEPTA police officers commended Arterbury, but said they don’t expect everyone to be as brave as he was.

“Our recommendation always with civilians, with employees, is that the most we expect from you is to be an outstanding witness,” said Lawson.

As for Arterbury, he said he plans on retiring in the next few years. In the meantime, he’s glad that things have returned to normal since the incident.

“I’m just glad it’s over with. I’m glad everybody was safe. I’m glad the guy got caught, and everybody went on about their business,” said Arterbury.