Monday, November 13, 2006 at 11:11 am
Darius McCollum Arrested Again
Darius McCollum is in trouble again. The man who has spent a third of his life in jail for his various attempts to infiltrate New York transit systems was arrested again last week, charged with criminal impersonation and violating the conditions of his parole, which prevented him from owning any railroad paraphernalia. He had an MTA badge, construction hat and train conductor manuals in his possession. New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Times.
In 2005, McCollum was sentenced to three years in prison for “asking questions about the New York City Transit authority’s M-7 locomotives while decked out in a reflector vest and hardhat, and claiming to be an independent railroad safety consultant.” (Gothamist, New York Times on the arrest in June 2004.) Since his first arrest at the age of 15, he’s been arrested 20 times for impersonating transit officials, mucking about on transit property, and absconding with buses and trains. He’s been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, which explains, to some extent, his obsessive behaviour. There’s even a term for it: “metrophilia” — a rather specific kind of fuckin’ rail (and bus, and subway) nut.
His supporters have been demanding that his Asperger’s be taken into account and he’s become a sort of local folk hero. If nothing else, he’s done little real harm: his obsessive focus on transit operations makes him a sort of Wesley Crusher of the MTA, which is to say that he’s not authorized, but he’s awfully well briefed.