Notorious Subway Joy-Rider Arrested For 30th Time for Stealing Bus

NEW YORK (AP) -
Darius McCollum during a 2008 arrest for impersonating an MTA worker. (AP Photo)
Darius McCollum during a 2008 arrest for impersonating an MTA worker. (AP Photo)

A man with a long history of pretending to be a transit worker and commandeering subway trains for joy rides was arrested Wednesday for his 30th time after stealing a commercial passenger bus, police said.

Darius McCollum, whose seedy career illegally riding buses and trains began in 1981, was arrested by officers who spotted the Greyhound bus traveling down a street in Brooklyn. Police suspect it had been stolen from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the nation’s busiest.

McCollum become a celebrity of sorts for escapades that began in 1981 at age 15, when he piloted a subway train six stops without any passengers noticing. He grew up in Queens near a station serving two MTA lines and learned the mechanics of the transit system from workers who took an interest in him.

After he was paroled on the bus theft in 2013, McCollum told The Associated Press he planned to get in touch with a nonprofit to help him find a therapist, and work or vocational school.

“I’m actually happy. It was a rough process but I finally made it,” he said, adding that his outlaw days were behind him. “I can’t afford to get arrested again, I can’t deal with the jail thing — it’s too much, the gang mentality.”