UPDATE: Was it all a hoax?
The once-mysterious UK-based graffiti artist, director and political activist that had gone by the pseudonym Banksy was arrested yesterday in London, and the police have released his name: Paul William Horner. The 39-year-old Horner, a native of Bristol, England, was the target of a huge investigation, with the police forming a "24-hour Anti-Graffiti Task Force" in an attempt to apprehend him. During a press conference, London Police Chief Wayne Leppard described how Banksy was finally taken into custody:
We received word that around 2am a group of individuals left a flat speculated to be one of Banky's art studios. This group was followed by agents and once vandalism had occurred, we then arrested the group, 5 men total. These individuals all had ID on them except for one, and that is the one we believed to be Banksy…We then raided the studio where this group was last seen leaving from. Inside we found thousands of dollars of counterfeit money along with future projects of vandalism. We also found a passport and ID of a Paul William Horner who matched the description of the man that we are currently holding. Horner is currently being held without bail on charges of vandalism, conspiracy, racketeering and counterfeiting. The police have not released a photo of him. Kyle Brock, a project manager of Banksy's said to CNN, "All the beauty Paul Horner brought to this world, and the London Police can only see it as vandalism. It's such a shame."