Lawyer: Transit Prankster Driven To Steal
An attorney for Darius McCullum last week said his client is driven to steal trains and buses by a rare form of autism characterized by obsessive behavior.
Defense attorney Stephen Jackson said his client’s arrest last week was a “cry for help”. McCullum suffers from Asperger Syndrome. “[He] obviously doesn’t want to find himself behind bars, but unfortunately, he can’t help it,” Jackson said.
McCullum, who has 27 prior transit-related arrests, is being held without bail after he confessed to stealing a bus from a Queens depot on August 31.
McCullum was busted behind the wheel of a stolen Trailways coach at about 8:55 a.m. on August 31 as he was driving the bus near the intersection of Hoover Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway in Kew Gardens, authorities said.
He allegedly told police that he had stolen the bus, used it to transport airline personnel to Kennedy Airport and was heading back to the depot to return it before anyone saw that it was missing.
“Although there were no passengers aboard the bus, the defendant’s alleged actions were serious and put the lives of both pedestrians and other motorists in harm’s way,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
McCullum’s transit thefts began in 1981 when at age 15, he commandeered an E train and drove it to the World Trade Center station in Lower Manhattan.
McCullum, who has served time for his previous actions, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.