So far, New York police haven't had any luck catching the elusive graffiti artist Banksy as he tags his way around New York City. However, they did manage to arrest two young men as they attempted to steal his latest offering. The young men were taken into custody and may need a criminal defense since they are facing charges of criminal mischief and criminal trespass.
Police arrived at a vacant building on 35th Street and Borden Avenue just as the alleged thieves were climbing down a ladder with the massive inflatable that spelled out the artist's name in gray graffiti letters. One of the men complained as police arrested him that he was merely planning to put the Banksy up in a museum. Police kept the piece and held it as arrest evidence. During the removal process, one of the men jumped from a scaffold and landed on a parked car. The owner called the police and other calls came from people who were complaining about the crowds.
One man did see the balloon going up. He saw three men using an orange ladder, and he thought they were putting up a billboard. He realized what they were really doing when they took the cover off the balloon and left. Mayor Bloomberg has referred to Banksy as a vandal and graffiti as a sign of decay.
On his website, Banksy said this was his last piece of art on his NYC run. The website said the balloon was an homage to the spray-painted bubble-style lettering that is the most common form of graffiti in the the city. Sources in the NYPD said they were ready to arrest Banksy, but they had to catch him in the act.
Source: New York Post, "Cops bust 'thieves' after Banksy art", Lorena Mongelli, Laurel Babcock and Jeane MacIntos, October 31, 2013