Dress-Up Fanatic Steals, Crashes London Double-Decker Bus After Impersonating Driver

Police say the 20-year-old even stopped to pick up passengers during one of his fantasy-driven escapades.

byRob Stumpf|
Dress-Up Fanatic Steals, Crashes London Double-Decker Bus After Impersonating Driver

We all want to be somebody when we grow up. Some kids want to be firemen, while others see a shiny police badge placed upon their shirt. But 20-year-old Shakeil Austin saw his future as piloting the bright red AEC Routemasters that once roamed the streets of London. In fact, he wanted it so bad that he stole two of them to make that dream come true.

Austin reportedly stole his first bus in February, crashing it into a white Mercedes-Benz shortly before returning the 12-ton from where it came. A judge would later learn that the damage caused by this joy ride would cost over $6,300 (5,000 British Pound Sterling) to repair.

Just over a month later, in March, Austin returned to the scene of the crime and took yet another bus—this time, though, he wouldn't crash it. Instead, Austin would pick up two passengers and even let one of them (who he knew) pilot the double-decker for about 15 feet.

Both passengers were dropped off at their respective destinations and Austin, once again, returned the bus to its original resting place.

As it turns out, Austin is an avid lover of buses. His social media profiles, Facebook in particular, is loaded with photos of the 20-year-old dressed as a coach driver, posing next to the large red double deckers. According to The Sun, he even worked at a local bus garage for about a week before he was dismissed; it's suggested that this is perhaps where he learned to pilot the people-haulers before making off with them at a later date.

Following Austin's arrest, he was found to have a transport inspector's hat, Metroline bus bag, a bus driver's jacket, and hi-vis jacket.

The case was heard in a London courtroom this week where he was charged after admitting to eight offenses, including aggravated vehicle taking and theft. He is due to be sentenced on June 12.