The Museum of Hoaxes
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Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
The worms inside your face
The Hitler Diary Hoax, 1983
Mule elected G.O.P. committeeman, 1938
Tourist Guy 9/11 Hoax, Sep 2001
Taco Bells buys the Liberty Bell, 1996
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
The Great Wall of China Hoax, 1899
The Lovely Feejee Mermaid, 1842
The Instant Color TV Hoax, 1962
Billboard Dollars Disappear
image Sportsbook.com placed $100,000 in one-dollar bills inside a plexiglass box on a billboard in Las Vegas. Putting the money there was a publicity stunt to promote their betting business. As part of the stunt, they allowed people to bet on whether or not the money would be stolen from the billboard. And lo and behold, while a guard was on a break a thief somehow broke into the box and took off with some of the money.

Although the theft itself sounds like a continuation of the publicity stunt, Sportsbook.com swears that the money really was stolen. And apparently the police actually are looking into the theft. Personally, I'm having a hard time believing that this entire thing wasn't planned. I'm also doubting that there even were real dollar bills inside the box in the first place.
Categories: Business/Finance
Posted by The Curator on Sat Sep 09, 2006
Comments (28)
Well, I should point out that, as a betting site, if they offered legitimate bets on whether it's stolen or not, and then 'arrange' to have it stolen, they are, in effect, fixing the bet..

I'd like to *think* they aren't that stupid. The sheer level of backlash that would cause would pretty much put them out of business instantly.

If they're caught, that is.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Sat Sep 09, 2006  at  01:33 AM
Also, they would be guilty of filing a false police report.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Sep 09, 2006  at  05:14 AM
Hey, hey... What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!!!
Posted by Christopher  in  Joplin, Missouri  on  Sat Sep 09, 2006  at  08:13 AM
Filing a false police report? Who is to say that this was ACTUALLY reported to the police?
Posted by Taed  on  Sat Sep 09, 2006  at  11:52 AM
that is true.. the police could be looking into it to see if it was actually stolen, or an arranged theft..
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Sat Sep 09, 2006  at  01:54 PM
I have the big temptation to vote fake: as a permanent resident of Las Vegas, I can testify that all cash (and else) is under constant surveillance, to the last penny.
If they indeed put $100,000.00 in cash on a billboard, they would also have installed at least five cameras, plus 3 or 4 vigilantes 24/7.

HOWEVER, check the following selected links:

http://www.kvbc.com/Global/story.asp?S=5371214

http://www.gambling911.com/Las-Vegas-Police-Billboard-Robbery-090606.html

http://www.finehomeslv.com/blog/las-vegas-billboard-dangles-100000-over-the-las-vegas-strip/

So ... it is still an open case, as far as I know.

Regards,
The Legend
Posted by The Legend  in  Las Vegas, Nevada - U.S.A.  on  Sat Sep 09, 2006  at  07:51 PM
I have a problem with their postulation to the public, that they were actually setting themselves up to be a target of theft. Of course they weren't, and no insurance company would have covered this, regardless of the 'armed guards 24/7'. Do they think that we the public are so stupid to think that they would make an open offer to solicit criminal activity? That in itself is a crime. So, where is the county District Attorney in all of this imbroglio?
Posted by stork  in  the spiracles of space  on  Sat Sep 09, 2006  at  08:47 PM
I would think that the sheer volume (100,000 bits of paper) would make it very awkward to steal. How much would that weigh, and how much space would it take up?
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sun Sep 10, 2006  at  02:18 AM
I BET it wasn't really stolen.
Posted by Citizen Premier  in  spite of public outcry  on  Sun Sep 10, 2006  at  06:44 AM
Half-hoax. Money wasn't real, but after being taken out could be exchanged for real notes. Me thinks.
Posted by Jerry S  on  Sun Sep 10, 2006  at  11:40 AM
Well, while it sounds dubious as hell I would still point out that such a sum is pocket money in advertising terms. Need I remind readers here that goldenpalace.com blew a damn sight more than this on a cheese toastie for publicity?
Posted by outeast  on  Sun Sep 10, 2006  at  03:40 PM
Nope, not a "damn sight more"... Golden Palace paid "only" $28,000 for the Virgin Mary grilled cheese, making it only 1/4 the cost of this "stolen" $100,000 plus the costs of the billboard and guards.
Posted by Taed  on  Sun Sep 10, 2006  at  09:58 PM
Years ago 3M, I think, created a transparent bus stop wall filled with cash stating it couldn't be broken. Turns out only the top bills were real and there was a copy nearby 24x7. (Though nobody ever did break it.)
Posted by Joe  on  Sun Sep 10, 2006  at  10:51 PM
If the money was really stolen, it was still only a loss of $30,000. Presuming, of course, that the police will eventually give back the $70,000 that didn't get taken.
Posted by hcmomof4  in  So. Cal.  on  Sun Sep 10, 2006  at  11:29 PM
You're right, Taed - I'd misremembered that as $128,000. That'll teach me to fact-check!

Nevertheless, a hundred grand is still nothing in terms of advertising revenue; I guess we'll have to wait and see how much coverage this gets in the MSM to really judge whether they got their money's worth - but for a sense of scale, $100,000 would (not quite) buy you ONE 30-SECOND SLOT during ABC's Wife Swap (plus the cost of making an ad in the first place, which, though highly variable, has been estimated at an aveage of $350,000 per 30 seconds!).

Of course, this will likely get most coverage online and perhaps in print media. Online ad rates are negligible, but so is their impact; print ads may be 'affordable' compared to TV, but it's no small potatoes - $100,000 would get you a single 2/3 page b&w ad in a Friday issue of USA Today (and who notices a single ad?).

My point? A stunt which generates significant buzz is well worth $100,000. To me it looks like it's backfired a bit: so far, every report I've seen has dismissed the whole deal (robbery included) as a publicity stunt. If it gets 'straight' reporting, though, it could be a smart move: it promotes the event itself while positioning the betting site as honest but with a sense of humour - and as not quite smart eough not to get stung once in a while (and you think that wn't make it tempting for gamblers wanting to try their luck at getting one over a casino?).
Posted by outeast  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  03:30 AM
Forgot to addmy source for the USA Today ad rates.
Posted by outeast  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  03:32 AM
Like I'm sure a billion-dollar business would risk criminal charges by involving the police in a hoax.

You people crack me up!
Posted by coit  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  06:58 AM
I'd be willing to bet they didn't put real money in there (although that's just because I wouldn't have), however I think the publicity stunt didn't need much rigging - it was pretty obvious someone was going to steal it.

On a side note, some friends of mine once bought a new TV and advertised their old one as going for free, but nobody wanted it. As soon as they put it on sale for
Posted by Owen  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  07:32 AM
I'm just wondering what kind of odds they were giving....
Posted by Stone  in  Side 3  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  07:37 AM
The odds were 6-1 against, with a $100 maximum bet. Oh - and it was insured...

Incidentally, <a href="http://www.majorwager.com/fusetalk/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=22&threadid=166711&enterthread=y&STARTPAGE=1>most of the money has been recovered</a> and the company is not pressing charges against the people who are alleged to have stolen it. I love this quote:

<i>Police recovered $96,300 and spent ">

And Accipiter, no word on the volume but as to the weight of so much cash:

The thieves who broke into the clear case containing the 220.3 pounds of cash took their long shot early Wednesday morning, raining dollar bills onto Las Vegas Boulevard.
Posted by outeast  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  07:52 AM
Bugger, what happened there? I meant to say,

The odds were 6-1 against, with a $100 maximum bet. Oh - and it was insured...


Incidentally, most of the money
has been recovered
and the company is not pressing charges against the
people who are alleged to have stolen it. I love this quote:

Police recovered $96,300 and spent "all day" Wednesday counting it, he
said. "It was an awful lot of work."


And Accipiter, no word on the volume but as to the weight of so much cash:

The thieves who broke into the clear case containing the 220.3
pounds
of cash took their long shot early Wednesday morning, raining
dollar bills onto Las Vegas Boulevard.
Posted by outeast  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  07:57 AM
> Like I'm sure a billion-dollar business would risk criminal charges by involving the police in a hoax.

Oh? What evidence do you have that the police are ACTUALLY involved? The most I'd seen so far is quotes from the company spokesperson saying that the police were involved. Who's to say that's true?
Posted by Taed  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  12:46 PM
Coit sez:
"Like I'm sure a billion-dollar business would risk criminal charges by involving the police in a hoax.

You people crack me up!"

Good point, Coit.
According to my friends Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay, no billion-dollar business would ever risk criminal charges by involving itself in any kind of fraud or hoax.
They said as far as they know, such a thing has never happened.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Uncertain, Texas  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  05:41 PM
So, then I get the end result is...Dudes bust into box while guard is conveniently in the can (that's loo for you Brits). Money flys all over the place because they haven't thought of a way to collect & contain it before rushing in, climbing 25-some feet and having all the necessary tools to break into the box. Or did the "thieves" actually intend for the money to fly all over the expressway? Gimme a break, this reeks of hoax publicity stunt.
Posted by stork  in  the spiracles of space  on  Mon Sep 11, 2006  at  11:52 PM
Gary said:
"According to my friends Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay, no billion-dollar business would ever risk criminal charges by involving itself in any kind of fraud or hoax."

The difference is that Ken Lay didn't set up a billboard advertising what he was doing.

Nice try though....
Posted by coit  on  Tue Sep 12, 2006  at  07:05 AM
People never say no to money.That
Posted by nitedrive  in  sweden  on  Tue Sep 12, 2006  at  05:45 PM
putting the money in there to me is not a publicity stunt but it is a lame stunt. if you were in the philippines that billboard could have gone too with the money.
Posted by pam60  in  philippines  on  Fri Sep 15, 2006  at  03:46 AM
the money was infact stolen by 4 un named men. i live in vegas and know for a fact... one jumped up onto the billboard from the wallgreens and took the money in bags... it was all over the news here... the main thief wore a cape leaving everyone to believe this was all a hoax
Posted by thebillboardkid  in  vegas  on  Mon Aug 25, 2008  at  07:53 AM
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