New York man arrested after hijacking empty city bus

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 17, 2014 11:48 AM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Staten Island man commandeered an empty New York City bus and managed to drive it nearly two miles before being stopped and arrested near his home, authorities said on Tuesday.

Passengers at the St. George ferry terminal in the borough of Staten Island called police at about 1:30 on Monday morning to report that "an unidentified youth had taken a bus," said Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Police said they arrested Nickolas Ellias, 20, about two miles from the terminal after tracking the missing bus by GPS. He was subsequently charged with grand larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle, police said.

The incident recalled the case of Darius McCollum, a New York City man who has been arrested nearly 30 times over 30 years for posing as a subway worker or bus driver, at times piloting trains full of unsuspecting commuters.

McCollum, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, was sentenced last year to up to 5 years in prison for taking a Trailways bus in 2010 from a depot in Hoboken, New Jersey, and driving it to Queens, New York, apparently en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; editing by Gunna Dickson)