Legendary train thief Darius McCollum was arrested yesterday for stealing a Trailways passenger bus from Hoboken, New Jersey, and driving it to Queens, saying afterward, "I'll bet they won't leave the keys in the ignition." It was his 27th arrest.
By driving off with the bus, the 45-year-old McCollum veered away from his true love of stealing trains. He started stealing them at age 15, when he took off with an E train filled with passengers in Manhattan. McCollum also served two years in prison for trying to steal a 60-ton locomotive. The New York Daily News talked about the arrest of the MTA's nemesis with NYC Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges, who said, "We ... hope he is punished to the fullest extent of the law and kept far away from anything with wheels."
McCollum is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and has an obsession with trains. The bus he stole was parked in a maintenance lot in Hoboken with the keys in the ignition, and he slipped inside undetected and drove off. The bus has a GPS, which police tracked to JFK Airport. At the time of his arrest he told police that he planned on taking the bus back to New Jersey because, "That's where it came from — I figured I'd bring it back." Can't they cut this guy some slack?
Here are some highlights from McCollum's storied career, via the Daily News:
Jan. 21, 1981: Arrested after driving an E train filled with passengers from 34th St. to the World Trade Center - at age 15.
Aug. 31, 1996: Nabbed after sneaking aboard a subway train - while wearing a Transit Authority vest and shirt - in a Bronx subway station.
Feb. 21, 2000: Busted after sneaking into the control tower of the 57th St. station in Manhattan.
June 11, 2004: Busted in a Long Island Rail Road yard trying to swipe a 60-ton Bombardier M-7.
Nov. 9, 2006: Surrenders for parole violations - buying an MTA badge and construction helmet.
June 15, 2008: Busted for impersonating an MTA worker at the Columbus Circle subway station.
Dec. 6, 2008: Arrested at Penn Station for impersonating a federal agent aboard a Long Island Rail Road train.
Aug. 31, 2010: Caught driving a stolen bus on the Van Wyck Expressway.