Transit Impostor With 30 Arrests: I Can't Get Help
'There's no AA for buses or trains,' laments Darius McCollum
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 4, 2016 8:42 AM CST
In this June, 2008 photo, NYPD plainclothes officers escort Darius McCollum after his arrest for sneaking into a subway station wearing clothing that resembled a transit worker's uniform.    (Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times via AP)
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(Newser) – Darius McCollum's addiction isn't booze and pills—it's buses and trains. The New York transit impostor who first commandeered a train at age 15 has been arrested 30 times over the years for transit-related crimes. Most recently, he was nabbed in November behind the wheel of a Greyhound bus that officials say he stole from a depot in New Jersey. Now McCollum, who is 50 and has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, is worried what will happen to him next. He says the obsession that's put him behind bars for half his adult life is out of his control. But instead of more jail time, he says, he needs help. "I can't seem to get myself out of this on my own," he said in an interview with the AP at Rikers Island jail. "But what am I supposed to do? There's no AA for buses or trains."

McCollum—who grew up near the 179th Street subway station in Queens and would go there after school—has posed as a transit worker, collected fares, fixed broken tracks, operated New York City subway trains and regional rail lines, and driven commuter buses. If he were a drug user, there'd be substance abuse treatment. If he were violent, there'd be an anger-management class. Even if he had been accused of a sex crime, there would be therapy available for him. "We applied for everything, sought help everywhere, but there's just nothing," says his lawyer, Sally Butler. "This isn't how he should be treated. He shouldn't be behind bars." His latest arrest on charges of criminal impersonation and grand larceny could bring him 15 more years behind bars if convicted.
 

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