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Train theft was loco's motive

(The following story by Dan Managan appeared on the New York Post website on June 15.)

NEW YORK -- A compulsive subway and bus thief was trying to take a new Long Island Rail Road locomotive and train out of a Queens rail yard when he was busted after posing as a safety consultant, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Darius McCollum, 39, also admitted having stolen keys used to operate various train engines, including the M-7 Bombardier locomotive he had been asking about Friday at the yard, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

McCollum, who has 20 arrests for transit-related stunts, entered the Jamaica yards wearing an LIRR vest and hard hat, carrying publications from the commuter line's parent Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and a phony business card, Brown said.

The card identified him as a "captain" and an "independent safety consultant."

The Lower East Side resident, who friends say has a mental disorder causing his obsessive behavior, has stolen several trains and buses over 23 years, including an E train that he commandeered for six stops at age 15 in 1981.

On Friday, McCollum presented his fake card to Bombardier representatives and asked them how to operate the new locomotives, the DA said.

When his ID was called into question, he walked off, but was caught by MTA cops.

He has been charged with attempted grand larceny, criminal impersonation and other offenses in the case.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

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