Remember way back in March when Billy LeRoy, the owner of Houston Street's Billy's Antiques, was arrested for selling subway signs? And how the police took more than 100 of his subway signs, which they felt he had gotten illegally? And then how the case was essentially dismissed over the summer? You do? So does Billy LeRoy, and he wants his signs back.
But the NYPD just doesn't want to do that just yet. At issue is the source of LeRoy's signs, which he claims he got from an MTA contractor hired to dispose of them and the MTA says were just plain old stolen. Thing is, even though no charges were brought against LeRoy in the end, his innocence doesn't necessarily entitle him to the return of his property. As a former Manhattan ADA tells the Times, “We won’t take your freedom unless we’re absolutely sure ... We would take your property if we’re pretty sure.”
And unfortunately the city is pretty sure that at least 19 of the signs were ill-gotten. Which means that if LeRoy wants back what he has already paid for, he is going to have to sue the city. Which, naturally, LeRoy's lawyer thinks is unconstitutional. And he makes some interesting points. While it doesn't sound like the signs are coming back anytime soon, the story at least makes for a fun read.
Meanwhile, anyone know where we can get an old Jay St/Borough Hall sign?