Image: AP

How cash-strapped is the MTA? Enough to go after serial train thief Darius McCollum, who recently sold the movie rights to his life story, in an effort to wrest any profits from the film away from him.

McCollum, 50, suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, and began stealing MTA vehicles as a teenager. His first arrest was in 1981, as a 15-year-old, when he was caught commandeering an E Train for six stops. He told a profiler later that he had already driven trains dozens of times before that. Most recently, he was cuffed in November for allegedly taking a Greyhound bus from Port Authority and tooling around Gowanus with it. “Next time, I’m taking a plane,” he told cops after that arrest.

Last week, it was announced that Julia Roberts would star as McCollum’s defense attorney in Train Man, a film adaptation of his strange story. Not long after, MTA board members told the New York Post that they wanted in on the action.

According to the Post, the MTA is meeting today to consider invoking the so-called “Son of Sam” law—passed after the serial killer David Berkowitz terrorized New York City in the 1970s—which prohibits felons from profiting off stories about their crimes.

If they decide to proceed against McCollum, the tactic could divert any profit he made from the movie into department coffers. Anything to avoid another fare hike, I guess.