Shenanigan of the week: shirtless man steals AC Transit bus

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For better or for worse, sometimes real life is stranger than fiction. On July 19, like something out of a Jan de Bont film, a shirtless, barefoot man stole an AC Transit bus in San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal and drove it 100 miles north on Highway 120 before being caught and swiftly arrested by officials. The reason he was shirtless and barefoot remains speculative. But it’s practically a mathematical certainty: The amount of clothing a perp is wearing is inversely proportional to how interesting we find him or her.

AC Transit spokesperson Clarence Johnson reported that the agency knew something was wrong when an emergency alarm on the bus sounded around 9:20 a.m. AC Transit’s operations control could see through a GPS tracking system that the bus, usually kept in a parking lot on standby, was leaving San Francisco and heading east.

Now, we can’t speak for everyone, but here at the Clog, an AC Transit bus would be rock bottom on the list of vehicles we would steal if we were criminals — perhaps even after our own mothers’ Toyota Siennas. The suspect, Justin Moss of San Francisco, however, seemed to make the most of it. He embarked on a joyride of nearly two hours before California Highway Patrol officers slowed down the rogue bus with a spike strip around 11:30 a.m. The bus eventually came to a halt with three flat tires, and Moss was quickly arrested near Oakdale, Calif. Moss is being held at San Joaquin County Jail, where he is now facing charges of reckless driving, driving without a license, failure to yield, grand theft auto and felony evasion, among others. There were no passengers on board. And if you were at all concerned about the status of the bus, it is now resting safely in its parking space at the terminal, emerging from the incident relatively unscathed.

Moss has a criminal history, including an outstanding $20,000 warrant from the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department for another account of grand theft auto. We’re no detectives, but what we find particularly odd is that he appeared to have the knowledge and skills necessary to operate a public transportation bus that the average layperson lacks. Could if be that Moss is a former bus driver? Or perhaps this was premeditated bus napping? We are all in the dark regarding the motive behind the act. Could it be linked to fear of future public transit strikes? Was he seeking a free tour of the Central Valley? Or is it just a classic case of distorted YOLO mentality? Your guess is as good as ours. Regardless of the intent, as (almost) always, it could have been much much worse.

Image Source: Paul Sullivan under Creative Commons  

Contact Liz Zarka at [email protected]