NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man who police say has a long history of transit-related crimes is set to face a judge on Thursday for allegedly stealing a Greyhound bus.
Darius McCollum is awaiting arraignment on charges including grand larceny and criminal impersonation of a police officer, authorities said.
He was arrested after police said he hopped on the bus Wednesday morning. Police initially said it had been taken from New Jersey but said later they suspect it was taken from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Investigators said a Greyhound supervisor noticed the bus was missing around 1:30 p.m. and notified headquarters in Texas, which was able to find the bus through an onboard GPS, police said.
The GPS tracker found that the bus was on the road in Brooklyn, police said. Cops said they caught up with McCollum driving the bus on Third Street near Union Street and he showed them an alleged counter-terrorism shield and ID.
No one else was on the bus.
McCollum has such a lengthy rap sheet of transit-related arrests, he has his own Wikipedia page, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
He became 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 Metropolitan Transportation Authority lines and learned the mechanics of the transit system from workers who took an interest in him.
Over the years, McCollum has had more than two dozen similar arrests.
He was arrested for trespassing into a subway control tower in 2000. In 2004, he attempted to commandeer a Long Island Rail Road train — leading to a jail sentence two years later.
In 2013, McCollum pleaded guilty to stealing a Trailways bus from a depot in Hoboken three years earlier. He had been arrested behind the wheel in 2010 on the highway that leads to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
McCollum, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, was paroled in 2013 and ordered to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy as part of a plea deal.
Following his 2013 plea, prosecutors, the judge and his attorney were all hopeful he would be able to stay out of trouble. McCollum said at the time that he would not let them down.
New Yorkers outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal could not believe what happened.
“Why is he out on the street?” said Queens resident Chris Lee. “If he has a rap sheet that long, why is he out on the street?”
“All I could do is laugh and say this is crazy,”said Harlem resident Veronica Black.
A veteran bus driver told CBS2’s Tony Aiello, off camera, that he wasn’t surprised McCollum was able to get past Greyhound workers at the gate.
“If he looks legit, and has an identification, and shows them some kind of fake ID, it’s pretty much easy to get in. If the driver is not securing his bus it’s pretty easy to get into a bus and start it,” he said.
McCollum was said to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things transit related. He no doubt knew the early afternoon was a good time to strike.
“There’s no one around and it’s pretty easy to get one at that time,” the driver said.
Police sources said McCollum had already planned another alleged heist when he was arrested Wednesday. McCollum told detectives he planned to steal an airplane next, sources said.
Greyhound issued a statement, which said in part, “We are fully cooperating with local authorities on their investigation and conducting an internal investigation of our own to obtain additional details regarding this incident.”
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