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Posted on Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

Former University of Michigan employee who stole bus had kept keys for 2 years

By Kellie Woodhouse

A Romulus man accused of stealing a University of Michigan bus in September had pocketed his employment keys when he was fired from his transportation job two years ago, according to a Michigan Daily article.

Antoine James, a former U-M employee, held onto his employment keys for two years and used them in the early morning hours of Sept. 21 to sneak into the U-M bus yard and steal a bus.

According to the Daily article, a police report stated that the 23-year-old James had alcohol in his system during the incident and that James told an arresting officer he took the bus to relieve stress.

James has pleaded guilty to receiving and concealing stolen property.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

Employees who leave the University of Michigan - voluntarily or otherwise - are 'supposed' to have an exit interview where they turn in their ID badge AND any keys to University property in their possession. Guess the protocol wasn't exactly followed in this case!


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

ignatz, then perhaps they should have to actually come in to receive their last check and return University property.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

jmac, Some just don't show back up, not even bothering to let their supervisor know they quit.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

I like the receiving and concealing charge, kinda hard to conceal a bus.

Jack Eaton

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

This is especially true considering that every UM bus has a tracking device and can be located by looking at the UM Magic Bus web page:


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

The serious side of this is that the story implies a failure on the part of the employer: to GET the employer-supplied keys from the FIRED individual. Other such lapses I know of have resulted in the fired employee using employer supplied master keys to commit burglaries. And - what if Mr. James had decided to do real mischief with that stolen bus? - That could result in a serious threat to public safety. ["key control" is an essential part of a competent security regimen.] Just glad this turned out in a way we can joke about.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

theres a new invention its called a key copying machine


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

@simply amazed, I have had keys on which "DO NOT DUPLICATE" was stamped copied at hardware stores without the clerk batting an eyelash.

simply amazed

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

Who's to say they weren't taken from him and he had just gotten a duplicate set made prior to his firing. Is there anything about those keys that throws up a red flag that says - "DON'T DUPLICATE". I would hope so, but who knows.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing. I wonder why they never got them back. Or did they even try?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

I never heard of the "steal a bus" form of stress relief! Is it better than Xanax?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

Well - probably - at least there's no prohibition against operating heavy machinery as there probably is with Xanax. ;-) You might even consider that a side benefit of key/bus theft - you do it BECAUSE stealing the keys enables operating a bus whenever the mood comes over you.

Jack Eaton

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

The article says the former employee "had pocketed the vehicle's keys when he was fired..." I think if you read the Michigan Daily article more carefully you will note that the keys were used to gain entry to the area where the bus was stored. Transit buses do not require a key to start.

Kellie Woodhouse

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

@Jack Eaton. You're right. I am sorry, I was trying to fix while in a meeting. Things should look good now.

Jack Eaton

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

The article now says he "had pocketed the his employment keys..." It should either be "pocketed THE employment keys" or "pocketed HIS employment keys".

Kellie Woodhouse

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

Yes, I've fixed the wording of the lede so it is consistent with the Daily article.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

"...James told an arresting officer he took the bus to relieve stress." Kind of like hitting your thumb with a hammer to relieve a headache?


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

Yes, exactly like that. LOL!