Metrophile Darius McCollum, who loves borrowing mass transit vehicles almost as much as everyone on the internet loves cat fashion shows, gave a detailed interview with the Daily News today, in which he says he's stolen 150 buses over the last decade! "That's why I love the city so much— so many trains, so many buses. I don't know what to do with myself," he said.
McCollum said that he has taken scores of buses from an unguarded NJ depot; he's given rides to friends, picked up passengers, driven as far as North Carolina, and sometimes grabs a bus to "just go and get a Big Mac." Till now, he was able to return the buses without anyone noticing. McCollum, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, admits that the thrill he gets from stealing buses and trains is a problem, but he also believes he's helping the companies: "If I can get away with it, anyone can. They should've been smarter...The perfect job for me would be counterterrorism. I could teach them how to stop stuff like this from happening."
On Tuesday, McCollum was arrested for the 27th time, for stealing a Trailways bus, and charged with grand larceny auto and possession of stolen property. He says he drove the bus to the Hotel Pennsylvania on W. 33rd St. and picked up unsuspecting flight attendants for a free ride to Kennedy Airport, telling them, "I'm a bus driver." He was on his way to return the bus to Hoboken when he was caught. As a teen, McCollum worked at the Hoboken bus depot, spending long hours talking with bus drivers, adopting their mannerisms; he learned that drivers leave keys in the buses until custodians arrive to clean them.
In their interview, the News describes him as "more like a bookish engineer than an obsessed felon," and commend his passionate interest in mass transit vehicles, even as they admit it is incredibly unlikely that McCollum will ever be given a job by the MTA or the law enforcement. McCollum faces up to 15 years in jail, but he's already recognized as a small-time legend with other inmates: "They think I'm famous. They saw me in the newspaper."