An MBTA employee pinned a man to the ground at Maverick Station late Thursday night after the man attempted to snatch two purses from a Revere woman, MBTA Transit Police said.
Ira Lawrence, an MBTA inspector, detained Sean Snellman, 32, of Watertown in the incident, which happened at about 11:20 p.m., according to a Transit Police report filed in the case.
Lawrence, a Randolph resident who has been working as an MBTA inspector for nearly 20 years, said he had never had such a confrontation with a passenger before.
“I don’t really know what I did, but I just knew I couldn’t let him get away,” he said.
Snellman and an alleged accomplice, Brittney Grisolia, 20, both allegedly had knives in their front pockets. Both were arrested by Transit Police.
The 25-year-old victim told police she was waiting for a train at the Blue Line station, carrying two clutch purses, according to the police report.
The victim noticed a male and female, later identified as Snellman and Grisolia, standing nearby. As a train entered the station, Snellman attempted to grab both of the victim's purses, but was only successful in stealing one, the report said.
The victim said she then saw Snellman stumble and “an MBTA employee, Ira Lawrence, run and grab Snellman and hold him on the ground,” the report said.
Lawrence said he surprised himself when he acted. “In the initial stages, I wasn’t really thinking. I saw what he did. He went over and grabbed it and so I just tackled him,” he said.
Grisolia also attempted to leave, the report said, but another T employee ensured that Grisolia remained in the station by not allowing her to take the next train out of the station.
MBTA Transit Police responding to the scene minutes later found the knives. Grisolia also allegedly had a bag containing 15 hypodermic needles.
Snellman, who was wanted on a warrant from Cambridge, faces a charge of unarmed robbery, while Grisolia faces charges of joint venture in an unarmed robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon because her knife was spring-loaded, the report said.
Snellman was ordered held on $5,000 bail after his arraignment in East Boston District Court. Grisolia was released on her own recognizance. Both were ordered to stay out of East Boston while their cases are active, and both were slated to return to court next month, the Suffolk district attorney's office said.
Lawrence said he is thankful for the recognition from local media outlets, but that it seems unnecessary to him.
“It’s just my job, you know -- I reacted,” Lawrence said. “I just saw it and reacted.”
On the beat
Columnist Adrian Walker says UMass Dartmouth is shaken after revelations that one of the Marathon bomb suspects was a student there. Read more