Man arrested 29 times for transit crimes sentenced in bus theft

Detectives walk Darius McCollum out of the Transit District at Columbus Circle on his way to central booking. McCollum was arrested for trying to access restricted areas in the subway system while dressed as an MTA employee. (Photo by Craig Warga/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Detectives walk Darius McCollum out of the Transit District at Columbus Circle on his way to central booking. McCollum was arrested for trying to access restricted areas in the subway system while dressed as an MTA employee. Credit: Craig Warga/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Darius McCollum, arrested nearly 30 times over 30 years for posing as a subway worker or bus driver, at times piloting trains full of unsuspecting commuters, was sentenced to up to 5 years in prison on Thursday for his latest joyride.

McCollum, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, will seek treatment for his transit obsession upon his release from prison, under a plea deal with prosecutors, his lawyer said.

McCollum, 48, pleaded guilty this month to taking a Trailways bus in 2010 from a depot in Hoboken, New Jersey, and driving it to the city’s Queens borough, apparently en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Queens District Attorney’s office said.

It was McCollum’s 29th arrest since the age of 15.

He faced up to 15 years behind bars for the Trailways theft but as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, he was sentenced to 2-1/2 to 5 years in prison.

McCollum has been in jail for nearly 3 years and could face a parole board within weeks since he already has served the minimum of his sentence, his attorney Sally Butler said.

“The goal was to get him in front of a parole board as soon as possible, to get him out of the system and to get him some help,” she said.

McCollum’s obsession with mass transit, specifically with the city’s subway system, started early in his life when he hid in a train after being violently attacked at school, she said.

“It was his home. It’s was an environment where he feels safe,” she said.

In 1981, McCollum was arrested for the first time after taking the controls of an E train and driving it six stops, apparently without any complaints from the conductor or passengers.

Over the next two decades, McCollum was arrested for a series of transit crimes, including dressing like a Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee and attempting – and at times succeeding – to drive trains and repair vehicles.

He also posed as a member of a crew working on tracks.

“He’s done this way more times than he’s been arrested,” his attorney said.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Kevin Gray and Richard Chang)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…

Style

Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.