[UPDATE BELOW] Some sick bastard is toying with the bellies of burger lovers in Manhattan this morning by putting up signs at various shuttered storefronts announcing that beloved In-N-Out Burger will be opening soon. Rumors that In-N-Out was making a move on Shake Shack's turf have been circulating for years, sparked more by desperation than any substantive news. And now a merciless prankster has exploited New Yorkers' perpetually frustrated lust for the In-N-Out by putting up signs like this in Union Square, where the Virgin Megastore used to be. The location is almost certainly way too big for an In-N-Out, so there's no fooling us there. But what about at 22nd Street and Broadway?

A tipster tells Eater that 'workers'—wearing In-N-Out caps and aprons—were outside 933 Broadway this morning, handing out fliers announcing that the stores will open on July 4th, 2010. (Burger Conquest has photos of the jokers.) Multiple conspirators? Convincing costumes? Fliers?! Who has the time for all this? Malicious, gold bricking blackguards, that's who. Unless... UNLESS it's true? Dare we dream? Those are good burgers, Walter.

UPDATE: Phyllis Cudworth, a kindly spokeswoman for In-N-Out, confirms that "someone is playing a fool's joke on us." Cudworth says In-N-Out doesn't have any plans to open locations in NYC. When asked why the hell not, she explained, "We're a small, family-owned business out here on the West Coast. We grind all our own all beef patties and deliver them to our locations every day, so because of the logistics it's just not something we're considering." Big exhale, Shake Shack.

UPDATE II:Looks like this was being videotaped for a College Humor gag.