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N.Y. man sentenced in train theft attempt

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on April 7.)

NEW YORK -- A man obsessed with trains was sentenced Wednesday to up to three years in prison for trying to steal a Long Island Railroad locomotive.

Darius McCollum, 39, pleaded guilty in February to attempted grand larceny. The charge stemmed from his 20th arrest for illegally posing as a subway motorman and other transit workers.

Wearing an orange reflector vest and hard hat, McCollum entered an LIRR yard last year posing as a safety consultant and asked representatives of a locomotive company how to operate a new type of engine, prosecutors said.

McCollum left the train yard when his identity was questioned. He later was found with stolen keys, including one for the new locomotive, prosecutors said.

Supporters of McCollum have claimed his obsession stems from Asperger's syndrome, a social disorder similar to autism. He first made headlines at age 15 when he commandeered a subway train.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

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