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The People Who Steal Transit Buses

A brief history of bus thieves from World War II to Darius McCollum.
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The trial of transit super-thief Darius McCollum begins next month in Queens. McCollum has compiled a record of 27 arrests in about 30 years for the illegal operation of subway trains and transit buses in the New York City area. His first effort was conducting an E train to the World Trade Center back in 1981. His latest caper, for which he awaits trial, was stealing a Trailways bus from Hoboken in August of 2010.

The Hoboken bus is hardly an outlier. McCollum has reportedly slid behind the wheel of about 150 buses in the past decade. "That's why I love the city so much — so many trains, so many buses," he's said. "I don't know what to do with myself." McCollum's lawyers intend to argue that his obsession with transit theft is not malicious but rather an unavoidable result of Asperger’s syndrome. Jeff Tietz wrote a sympathetic profile of McCollum for the May 2002 issue of Harper's [PDF].