Charges Dropped, Subway Signs Returned to Proprietor on the Bowery

Billy Leroy, the colorful owner of the antique and curiosity shop that bears his name on the corner of East Houston and Elizabeth Street has been cleared of charges of criminal possesion of stolen property. The property in question are 96 MTA subway signs. Leroy has been selling similar signs for nearly a decade.

Leroy was arrrested by transit police and the signs were confiscated in a sweep last March.

Leroy says he'd purchased the signs from an MTA subcontractor (now retired), hired by the Transit Authority to remove damaged or graffitied signs and replace them with new ones. Leroy took the discarded signs and sold them. The more damagged and tagged the sign, the better it would sell, he says.

The case had been adjourned until Wednesday.

Represented by a fellow long-haired New Yorker, Civil Rights attorney Ron Kuby, Leroy says the charges have been dropped and he was told by a represtative at the District Attorney's office that he'll have his signs back by the end of the week.

Leroy welcomes the return of the merchandise and is happy to have the whole matter finished. He says its "just another New York story."