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Banksy’ street art irritates NYC mayor, but police not looking for him

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NEW YORK (CNN) — The New York Police Department denies it is actively searching for the mysterious street and graffiti artist known as Banksy, according to a spokeswoman. Yet, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested Banksy is breaking the law with his guerrilla art exhibits.

Annette Markowski, an NYPD public information officer, told CNN police have not launched an investigation of Banksy because they have not received any complaints of vandalism related to the artist.

Every day this month, Banksy has been unveiling new works of art around New York. The works are then announced on his website. Some of the surprise exhibits are stencils spray-painted on streets and walls of buildings. Others have included whimsical mobile displays transported on trucks, an animated YouTube video and, on Wednesday, a performance art piece involving a dirt-smeared boy shining the shoes of a life-sized statue of Ronald McDonald outside one of the fast-food chains franchises.

“Graffiti does ruin people’s property and is a sign of decay and loss of control,” Bloomberg said at a press conference Wednesday, when asked by journalists about Banksy’s street art.

“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. I think that’s exactly what the law says,” Bloomberg continued.

He said the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs would look into the matter.

On Thursday, the unidentified artist published a photo on his website of the front page of the New York Post with the headline “Get Banksy! NYPD hunts artist.”

“I don’t read what I believe in the papers,” the artist wrote in a caption below the photo.

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