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Railroad buff derailed again, 26th bust for man cops say impersonated fed

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Railroad buff derailed again, 26th bust for man cops say impersonated fed

BY PETE DONOHUE

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

October 6th 2008

 

[float=right]amd_mccollum.jpg

Ward for News

Darius McCollum[/float]A train buff with a long track record - that includes taking a subway train for a joyride - has been arrested for impersonating a federal agent, police said Monday.

 

Darius McCollum, 43, flashed a bogus badge and a forged ID card to a Long Island Rail Road conductor after boarding a train in Penn Station on Sunday night, Metropolitan Transportation Authority police said.

 

Prior to Sunday, McCollum had been arrested 25 times for pretending to be a transit worker.

 

"I'm not surprised," McCollum's weary-sounding mother, Elizabeth, said of the latest arrest after being reached Monday in North Carolina.

 

McCollum in recent years has been living in North Carolina, but he ignored his mother's warnings and took a bus back to the city Sunday, she said.

 

"He's a lover of New York and can't get over it," she said.

 

McCollum's first run-in with the law came in 1981, when he assumed the role - and duties - of a subway motorman.

 

He drove an (E) train full of unsuspecting passengers from 34th St. to the World Trade Center. He was 15 years old.

 

McCollum bounced in and out of jail for a series of lesser stunts until his 2004 arrest in a Queens railyard.

 

He had a handful of stolen railroad keys and said he wanted to learn how to drive one of the new commuter trains, authorities said.

 

The Queens arrest resulted in a state prison stint for McCollum, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism.

 

He was paroled in 2006 but was sent back for violating the terms of his freedom.

 

Several months ago, the NYPD stopped McCollum as he tried to enter a restricted area of the Columbus Circle station.

 

He was wearing a blue T-shirt and blue work pants typically worn by track workers, as well as a hardhat and gloves bearing the NYC Transit logo. That netted him a five-day sentence.

 

On Sunday, a conductor recognized him from a "be-on-the-lookout" bulletin posted by (MTA) police, officials said.

 

When approached by the conductor, McCollum showed the badge and bogus "National Justice Bureau" ID card, officials said.

 

The train crew notified (MTA) police officers, who arrested McCollum at the Babylon station in Suffolk County. His mother complained that authorities are "picking on him, not trying to help him."

 

"If he wears dark clothes, they pick him up," she said. "Anytime he goes on a train, it's going to happen."

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Yeah, I don't get why he doesn't just take the exam and do it for real...

 

I was thinking the same thing but I guess he wanted to skip all that and rather be arrested each time. But at this point, he won't get a job from them based on his previous actions.

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Ah, Darius in the news yet again. Makes us other transit fans look bad dammit!

Just give the guy a job already! Let him clean the trains at a Terminal!
He'll take the train though when the T/O not looking!

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There are three things that you are guaranteed in life:

 

Death, Taxes, and Darius McCollum getting arrested.

 

That made me chuckle. ;)

 

Hey, was he ever a member here?

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Ah, Darius in the news yet again. Makes us other transit fans look bad dammit!He'll take the train though when the T/O not looking!

 

Your right. Scrap my idea:rolleyes:

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If he loves trains so much, instead of jail time, make him suffer the TAs job, make him work more then 40 hrs a week, let him have a break from ta for like (5) hrs a day and get back to work.

 

Work as Cleaner, T/o and conductor, No sleep for that man

 

o no retirement till age 65! pay checks at 2.00 an hr same crap as Metrocards lol, no Life packages, and for metrocard, pay $5 to enter, or u wil be in jail for years and years haha:D

 

ive heard of this story a lot of times... that guy needs a physiological help:rolleyes:

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Send him to track work where he will learn his lesson

 

u got that right m8 lol, hard work mining the tracks ;)

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Darius shouldn't be allowed to be around transit what so ever.

 

His mother should've kept him on more lockdown in North Carolina, IMO....

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Darius shouldn't be allowed to be around transit what so ever.

 

His mother should've kept him on more lockdown in North Carolina, IMO....

 

My name is Harry, and approve this message!

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Some people, for various reasons (more below), vehemently oppose any suggestion that Darius McCollum be hired by the TA in any capacity whatsoever. Here I would like to offer a reasoned counterpoint to the most commonly used arguments against hiring McCollum in any capacity:

 

  • McCollum poses, or would pose, a safety risk to riders. Unless "guilty until proven innocent" is the new standard for judging in the U.S., there is no reason to claim that McCollum poses, or would pose, a safety risk to riders. McCollum does not have any record of putting any riders in harm's way. In fact, he's even helped riders in at least one safety-sensitive situation in the past. Furthermore, McCollum need not necessarily be placed in a safety-sensitive position in the TA.
  • McCollum would represent a liability risk for the TA. I don't see why this would be the case. No matter what position he was placed in, he would be required to pass the same checks and tests other TA employees are put through before he could start working. He would also be subject to supervision and oversight (as well as random checks and tests if applicable) while working. If McCollum passes the same checks and tests that are used to screen other TA employees, wouldn't that more than counter any unsubstantiated personal opinions that McCollum is somehow unqualified for whatever position he was placed in?
  • McCollum would be incapable of just doing his job and following orders. He'd drift throughout the system and do whatever he wanted to do. This is unsubstantiated. In fact, if I recall correctly, McCollum has in the past 'worked' in specific roles for extended periods of time, even without specific orders to follow.
  • McCollum would continue to perform various unauthorized duties unrelated to his job and gain unauthorized access to secure areas. In short, he would be unable to restrain himself. Sure, McCollum has a history of performing unauthorized duties and entering secure areas without authorization. But as a non-TA employee, basically everything he could have done was unauthorized. McCollum has in the past 'worked' in specific roles for extended periods of time, even without specific orders to follow. This would actually seem to indicate that he is good at restraining himself to only performing duties related to a specific job.

 

Am I missing anything?

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Put simply, he has defied authorities when instructed to desist. Who hires a man who has already established he refuses to follow orders?

 

To be honest, I'm just humoring you. You don't seem to be looking at the situation objectively. To even argue that he could ever work in the mass transit field, or in any capacity within any mass transit system, after what he has done is laughable.

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