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Robber hides on bus, takes driver's purse

A 48-year-old bus driver for the Pinellas County School District was robbed Wednesday during her route to St. Petersburg High School.

The driver, Ava Owens, picked up the 65-passenger school bus from the compound at 635 49th St. S early Wednesday morning. Before her first pickup, she stopped at a McDonald's on 34th Street N for a cup of coffee.

It was then, police and school officials say, that a man in a dark jogging suit climbed on the empty bus. He hid in the back but approached Owens wearing a ski mask at 6:36 a.m., just before her first stop at 27th St. N and Seventh Avenue, police said. The man had not been caught late Wednesday.

The man, who has not been caught, grabbed Owens' purse and fled as a teenager and her infant were preparing to board the yellow bus, said Ron Stone, spokesman for Pinellas schools.

No one was injured.