Production of next-generation Acela Express fleet underway
Stadler unveils TEX Rail Flirt DMU
Siemens invests in remote monitoring specialist Wi-Tronix
DB consortium selected for California high speed rail
Judge puts the skids on state’s proposed rail trail
Amtrak's CEO shares his vision for rail's future
Flight Rail: a new type of train?
America’s short lines play the long game
New York rail operator bolsters security after London bombing
In New York City, 52-year-old Darius McCollum is an infamous felon. Dubbed as the "gentleman thief" he is constantly making headlines for what is not only a bizarre but heartbreaking obsession – he can’t stop stealing buses and trains.
This week on 60 MINUTES, reporter Liz Hayes travels to the United States to reveal a story that is on first glance quirky and humorous, but which in reality is a sad indictment of a sophisticated society.
“On face value, here’s a man who can’t stop stealing trains and buses – everyone laughs at that,” Hayes said.
“But the truth of this story is that it’s far deeper.
“This isn’t just a guy who can’t stop stealing.
“It’s about a man who clearly has issues, and a system that fails to help him.”
Darius has been arrested 32 times for theft of buses and trains. (60 Minutes)Darius has been arrested 32 times for theft and impersonating a transit officer.
His love of the New York transit system began after a sudden trauma at school saw him seek refuge in the subway.
“The subway was the place that made him feel safe,” Hayes said.
“The staff loved him, he was a cute kid. They gave him a uniform, they treated him as their own and then when it went off the rails they didn’t step up and say anything.
“And as Darius’ lawyer Sally Butler argues – someone had to teach him how to operate these vehicles. But no one said a thing.”
Darius has spent 25 years behind bars because of his compulsive behaviour. (60 Minutes)
Darius McCollum is obsessed with stealing buses and trains. (AAP)Darius has since spent over 25 years behind bars. Rather than properly treat his mental state and compulsive behaviour, authorities have continually sent him to jail.
Darius has never been violent and he cares about the transport system and particularly the passengers, but cannot stop his behaviour without adequate support.
“Every society has someone like Darius,” Hayes said.
“I think rather than just locking him up and throwing away the key, we should look at this differently.
“He could be quite productive – he could actually add to the system in a lot of ways if only he was allowed to.”
As a child, Darius McCollum took shelter in the New York City subway system. (60 Minutes)Hayes acknowledged Darius is breaking the law, but believes a “one size fits all” system is not only out of date, but out of touch.
“Everybody understands the authorities are in a tough place,” she said.
“I just hope as human beings we would look at somebody like Darius and say, ‘We can do better than that’.
“We owe him – we owe all the Darius’ of this world – more than what they’re getting.
“There’s got to be a better way than every time he drives a bus, to throw him in jail where abhorrent things have happened to him.
“We’ve got to do better than that.”
Darius' situation is an indictment of a society that has failed to help him. (60 Minutes)Darius has been the subject of a documentary and his story is now about to become a Hollywood film, with rumours Julia Roberts will play the role of Darius’ lawyer Sally Butler, who refuses to stop fighting this case.
“And I indeed hope Hollywood can help save him,” Hayes said.
“Sally Butler is such a brilliant lawyer and that’s exactly why Julia Roberts is so interested in playing her role.
“It is that fighter, desperately saying to this affluent society, ‘You can do better than this’.
“If this was some sort of violent person then sure, but you’re looking at someone who has a problem that I’m sure could be better managed.”
Hayes encourages all Australians to watch Darius’ troubling story.
“After meeting Darius, I came away thinking – like I hope most people will after watching this story – that there’s got to be something that can be done for him,” she said.
“We should do better than that.”
This article first appeared on www.9news.com.au
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2020 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.