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Man arrested trying to steal LIRR train in Jamaica: DA

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Darius McCollum, 39, of 130 Columbia St. in Manhattan was arrested Friday as he was leaving the Long Island Rail Road train yard at 182-30 Liberty Ave. in Jamaica after allegedly posing as a safety consultant and trying to take a joy ride on a new locomotive, Brown said.

"The defendant is alleged to have entered an LIRR train yard without permission, posed as a railroad safety consultant and asked locomotive manufacturer's representatives how to operate an M-7 locomotive, a new railroad engine manufactured by the Bombardier company that had been recently delivered to the train yard," Brown said in a statement.

"The defendant, when apprehended, admitted that he had stolen assorted railroad keys used to operate train engines, including a key able to start an M-7 Bombardier locomotive."

McCollum walked into the rail yard Friday wearing a vest and hard hat customarily worn by LIRR employees and carrying Metropolitan Transportation Authority pamphlets, Brown said. He allegedly presented a business card to workers there identifying him as a captain and an independent railroad safety consultant, the DA said.

McCollum allegedly asked employees of Bombardier, the transportation giant that manufactures locomotives and other vehicles, to show him how to operate the new M-7 train, which had recently been delivered to the train yard, Brown said.

But McCollum never got to drive the train, the DA said. He walked out of the rail yard after workers called his identification into question, Brown said.

He was quickly arrested, and he was found carrying various railroad keys, including one for the M-7, which he allegedly admitted to stealing, Brown said.

McCollum was charged with attempted grand larceny, criminal impersonation, criminal possession of stolen property, possession of burglar's tools and trespassing and he could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, Brown said.

He was arraigned in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens Saturday before Judge Pauline Mullings, who set bail at $250,000, Brown said. McCollum was due back in court June 24.

McCollum was arrested in 2001 for posing as a transit employee and flipping a switch that caused a Queens-bound subway train to stop, police said. He served 2 1/2 years in prison for the crime and was released in April, police said.

Information on his other arrests was unavailable.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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