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Vincent Gramuglia's controversial tractor-trailer sign was pulled Monday from its 50-foot perch alongside the New York State Thruway but became lodged against the same oil storage tank from which it was ordered removed by a judge.

His 55-foot rig atop the empty tank served as a huge billboard to advertise the "three truck stops, four motels and seven restaurants" available here, 40 miles west of Albany. After a yearlong battle with Thruway Authority officials, who said it was a distraction to motorists, Gramuglia agreed in State Supreme Court last week to take the sign down.

As some 75 people and three television crews watched, he tried to do just that. He placed rollers under a huge steel I-beam to which the truck was welded, greased it with Italian olive oil and used a tow truck's winch. When the 12-ton truck fell, its rear end wedged 4 to 6 feet into the ground, leaning on the tank, Gramuglia said. Further attempts to winch it off resulted in two broken steel cables, he said.

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