It may have been computer hackers. It may have been an inside joke. But whatever it was, it had New York subway riders scratching their heads Thursday.
"PRETTY GIRLS DON'T RIDE THE SUBWAY" read an electronic message board at the West Fourth Street subway station in Greenwich Village, reports the New York Daily News.
The sign, which usually reminds riders not to run down escalators or to make sure to fold up baby strollers, flashed the strange message for several hours before it was unplugged around 8 p.m.
The New York City Transit Authority (search) said it was looking into the matter, but a token-booth clerk figured some joker had hacked into the subway's computer system.
Most riders asked by the Daily News about the message were amused or feigned mock offense.
"It's a vicious lie," said Rachel Russell, 37, an arts-program coordinator. "I think someone is trying to be clever."
Lucia Morales, 31, a Brooklyn social worker, offered herself as evidence the sign was incorrect.
"I'm pretty," she said, "and I take the subway every day."
Technical representative Nick Bello, 57, agreed.
"I see a lot of pretty girls on the subway," he said.
Even the Daily News' reporters, one male and one female, said the message was "proven wrong by an in-depth Daily News investigation."
Actress Katharyn Bond, 33, who was wearing a little black dress on the way to the theater, offered a rebuttal straight out of "Sex and the City."
"Pretty women," she said, "take the subway so we can go spend money on more important things — like alcohol."
GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Charges have been dropped against a woman who paid for clothes with a fake $200 bill that featured President Bush's picture and the serial number DUBYA4U2001.
Westmoreland County prosecutors dropped all charges Friday against Deborah L. Trautwine, 51, after she paid the store in real currency. Trautwine wasn't aware that the bill wasn't actual legal tender, said her attorney, Harry Smail Jr.
As earlier reported in Out There, a clerk at a Fashion Bug clothing store also apparently was fooled by the funny money. She gave Trautwine $100.58 in change following an August transaction.
There is no $200 denomination bill, even without Bush's picture on it. The back of the phony bill depicted the White House with several signs erected on the front lawn, including those reading "We Like Broccoli" and "USA Deserves A Tax Cut."
GREENSBURG, La. (AP) — Beavers found a bag of bills stolen from a casino, tore it open and wove the money into the sticks and brush of their dam on a creek near Baton Rouge.
"They hadn't torn the bills up. They were still whole," said Maj. Michael Martin of the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office.
The money was part of at least $70,000 taken last week from the Lucky Dollar Casino (search) in Greensburg, about 30 miles northeast of Baton Rouge.
Sheriff's deputies in St. Helena Parish, where the truck stop video poker casino is located, have accused a security guard at the casino of disabling its security cameras.
Jacqueline Wall, 25, was booked with felony theft, Martin said.
She told investigators a ski-masked gunman made her help him empty all the casino's safes, then kidnapped her, knocked her out and left her in an uninhabited area in East Feliciana Parish.
Deputies had searched for the money for days before an attorney called with a tip: the money had been thrown into the creek. The attorney's client hopes to make a deal with prosecutors, Greensburg Police Chief Ronald Harrell said.
They found one money bag right away. The second was downstream, against the beaver dam.
After trying unsuccessfully to find the third bag in the deep water near the dam, Martin said, deputies began to break it down to release some of the water so they could search in a shallower pool.
That was when they saw the dam's expensive decoration.
He said they eventually found the third sack, which still had some money left in it.
"The casino people were elated" to get the money back, even if some of it was wet, Harrell said.
Deputies found about $40,000, and expected to find the rest in a safety deposit box at a bank in Mississippi.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — In 1985, Brian Calen claimed he was blinded in the right eye in a cruise ship accident.
Seven years later, he said a ship's telescope blinded him again. Then, he said, he was blinded on two more trips — by a champagne bottle and a flying disc.
All in the same eye.
Calen's unlucky streak — which allowed him to collect more than $1 million in travelers' insurance money — finally caught up with him last Wednesday, when he was charged with insurance fraud and grand larceny.
"How does a guy get blinded again and again?" District Attorney Jeanine Pirro asked.
Calen pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Westchester County Court and was freed on $10,000 bail. His lawyer, Peter Goodrich, said the charges pertain only to the 2002 claim and "it's our opinion that they are absolutely wrong on that."
He said Calen disclosed a prior injury during the claims process and "it's up to the insurance company to determine the validity of the claim."
If convicted, Calen could be sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.
Pirro spokeswoman Anne Marie Corbalis said Calen, 48, took out insurance policies that covered losses during travel but did not require a medical examination. The policies were sometimes triggered just by charging the trip on a credit card, she said.
In 1992, Calen collected $75,000 after claiming the filter on a cruise ship telescope fell off, resulting in solar burn.
Five years later, he collected $1 million after claiming he was blinded by an exploding champagne bottle on another cruise. Pirro said Calen had deliberately broken a bottle and injured himself with the shards.
In 2002, Calen filed a claim for $500,000, alleging he was blinded by a flying disc on a riverboat cruise with a Civil War theme. Pirro said an alert insurance investigator discovered his prior claims and notified authorities.
Corbalis said prosecutors have not determined if Calen tried to file an insurance claim after the 1985 accident. Medical records showed that he suffered retinal damage, but the cause was unknown.
WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — In a hard hat and tool belt, police said Jerome Dunbar looked just like every other cable repairman.
Problem was, authorities said, he couldn't legally do the work.
Dunbar appeared in court Friday on charges he took $100 from a local family to hook up their disconnected cable service.
Authorities said they discovered the alleged scheme when they saw him climbing a ladder on a telephone pole late Wednesday, and because it was an odd time of the day for line work, inquired about his credentials.
"He had a hard hat, but civilian clothes. He had no utility uniform. But he did have a tool box and said he worked for a company called Telcom," said police spokesman Sgt. Paul Raucci.
Police said they could find no evidence Telcom existed.
Dunbar was charged with one count of theft of a community antenna for profit. He was being held in lieu of $5,000 bond.
SOLON, Iowa — An eastern Iowa man has beat extraordinary odds by winning $100,000 from the Iowa Lottery's Cash Game a second time.
K. Morris Richardson picked up his second jackpot on Tuesday.
"I just kind of smiled all the way to the bank," he said.
Richardson first won $100,000 in 2000 through the same daily game. His latest win came when he matched the five numbers for Monday's drawing.
Richardson, 79, a member of the Solon American Legion Post 460, bought the $100,000 Cash Game ticket at a Hy-Vee Food store.
Lottery officials said the odds of winning the game twice are one in 324,632.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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