Prosecutors in the District have what they consider solid evidence against a Metro rider charged with felony fraud for trying to muscle $15,000 from the transit agency: surveillance video.
Maurice Owens is becoming known as the "Banana Peel Man." He was allegedly caught on camera August 8 dropping a banana peel on the floor of an elevator at the Potomac Avenue Metro Station in Southeast D.C.
"Man, it sounds like he's trying to get some money," was one fellow Metro rider's reaction to the alleged caper.
"That was silly," added another. "Because in the first place, he could have really hurt himself."
In asking for money from Metro, Owens claimed he had injured his left hip and leg in the August fall.
Owens was in no mood to answer our questions when he left D.C. Superior Court Monday afternoon. His preliminary hearing was delayed for a month while he gets a mental health evaluation.
"How's your hip, sir? How's your leg?" we asked.
"No comment," was all Owens would mutter.
"They say you staged this thing. That you dropped that banana peel. What do you say to that sir?" we continued.
"I don't have any comment," he answered.
Other Metro riders have plenty to say.
"I guess that's dishonest. Not right," said a young woman.
"Especially when you're on camera. It defeats the whole purpose," added another.
An older woman told us: "You know, it doesn't pay to try to be slick. Because you know what? You reap what you sow."
Owens is due back in court on January 14. He was walking without a limp Monday.