By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN — A man who has been stealing subway trains for the past three decades admitted at his arraignment hearing Wednesday that he'd recently changed his M.O. and stolen two buses in the past three weeks, prosecutors said.
Darius McCollum, who has a history of Asperger's disease, a high-functioning form of autism, was originally arrested on charges he stole one bus on Tuesday, but during the arrest he confessed to police he had pulled a similar stunt 20 days earlier, prosecutors said.
The alleged transit thief was arraigned on possession of stolen property and unlicensed driving charges on Wednesday morning in Queens and was held on $100,000 bail.
McCollum, 45, who lives in Harlem, has been arrested more than 20 times for taking, or trying to take, subway trains and other transit vehicles on joyrides, and was arrested Tuesday morning for embarking on yet another joyride — this time, in a coach bus taken out of Hoboken, N.J., about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said.
McCollum's transportation obsession is caused by his untreated condition, which has never been properly addressed by the criminal justice system, his lawyer said.
"His previous treatment has been inadequate. Hopefully this will be an opportunity to specifically address it," said Stephen Jackson, his lawyer.
While McCollum has been incarcerated for about 13 years in total in his lifetime, the court-ordered psychiatric treatment he's received in the criminal justice system has not addressed his particular affliction, Jackson said.
The lawyer said he hopes this time the court will be "a tool to help" McCollum, who, aside from his train and bus hijackings, has been an obedient citizen.
McCollum has a long history of arrests in New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina, where he recently lived for several years.