If you are a regular reader here on EcoLocalizer, you know that I am a big fan of sustainable transportation — bikes, buses, trains, etc. So, when I came across this story, you can imagine I got a big kick out of it. Though I don’t think I would ever try to steal a bus or subway train (hope I wouldn’t), I can certainly relate to this guy in some ways.
And, yes, you did read the headline correctly — a native New Yorker, Darius McCollum, has developed a habit of taking NYC subway trains and buses for a nice little joyride before getting caught by the cops. He has been arrested for doing such things 27 times in the last 30 years.
His first arrest came in 1981, when he decided to take the E train to the World Trade Center at the young age of 15!
His most recent arrest was two and a half weeks ago. The New York Times reports:
A law enforcement official said that a Trailways bus had been reported stolen from Hoboken, N.J., at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, and various police agencies were notified of the stolen bus. The New York State Police tracked the bus via GPS to the vicinity of Archer Avenue and Merrick Boulevard in Queens, and the police in the 103rd Precinct were contacted.
Police officers from the 103rd Precinct stopped the bus as it was heading north on a ramp of the Van Wyck Expressway. Mr. McCollum surrendered without incident, the police said.
Prior to this arrest, McCollum’s last arrest was in 2008, when, according to the police, he tried to pass himself off as a subway worker and got caught.
McCollum’s 84-year-old mother, Elizabeth, has said that Darius has Asperger’s syndrome and he has had a lifelong obsession with trains.
Speaking about his numerous arrests, she said, “I’m never surprised.”
The NYC Police Department must not be very surprised at this most recent offense (though, they did properly charge him with grand larceny auto and possession of stolen property). It seems a little wrong, though, to consider him a “thief,” since he doesn’t seem to have the intention of stealing these vehicles forever — he just likes taking them for a little ride. Even 20 years ago, the police realized this. After an arrest in 1990, officers said that McCollum apparently only stole buses and trains “for the fun of it and usually parked them near depots, so they could be recovered.'”
“He has a thing for mass transit,” said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman said after the most recent arrest.
That’s putting it lightly.