Is Banksy being hunted by the NYPD? Police sources at odds over whether to arrest artist

Mayor Bloomberg believes graffiti is a 'sign of decay and loss of control'

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The Independent Culture

Banksy has enthralled New Yorkers with his inventive and witty artworks, but sadly for the British-born artist the NYPD doesn't appear to be his biggest fan.

The New York Post claimed on its front page that the Vandal Squad is on the hunt for the prolific street artist.

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A source told the newspaper: "They want to question him in connection with the vandalism. If they catch him, he will be charged with vandalism."

However, it appeared that Banksy was taking the tabloid's story with a pinch of salt, writing on his website: "I don't read what I believe in the papers," alongside pictures of his latest artwork – a pair of Japanese ladies and a Bonsai Tree.

Individual police officers have been pictured on Instagram admiring Banksy's works and taking their own smartphone pictures.

New York Daily News also seemed sceptical. A source told the paper that the Vandal Squad only investigates "if someone complained about it," and that thus far there have been no complaints.

But there was a significant complaint from Mayor Bloomberg. When asked about Banksy's month-long residency in the city, he said: "I'll leave it up to our Department of Cultural Affairs.

"But look, graffiti does ruin people's property and it's a sign of decay and loss of control.

"Nobody's a bigger supporter of the arts than I am. I just think there are some places for art and there are some places [not for] art. And you running up to somebody's property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted. And I think that's exactly what the law says."