Graffiti Artist COST Faces Vandalism Charges in New York

NYPD officers pose with the seized contents of COSTS's SUV Photo: Spray Daily

The notorious graffiti artist COST was charged with vandalism, criminal mischief, making graffiti, and possession of a graffiti instrument in a Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday, the New York Post reports.

The judge estimated that the 45-year-old street artist, whose real name is Adam Cole, has caused millions of dollars in damages since his trademark posters started appearing in New York City in the 1990s. His prolific tagging caused a New York Times reader to label him “the worst graffiti vandal in the history of New York.”

After a 16-year absence from the graffiti subculture, COST posters started to reappear in 2014. According to court documents he was caught red-handed last October when police confronted him holding a large brush still covered in wheatpaste.

COST reportedly admitted the crime, exclaiming “You know my graffiti,” when officers showed him images of his work.

According to CBS, the New York Police Department also recovered glue drums, brushes, and hundreds of COST stickers and posters from the street artist’s Porsche Cayenne SUV.

Despite his highly productive graffiti output, COST has only been in trouble with the law a handful of times. He was last arrested in 1995, making it difficult for police to accurately identify him.

Given the legal case against him, its unclear if COST will return to the streets again. According to the Village Voice the artist’s work sells for as much as $30,000. Consequently it seems likely that he will follow other street artists such as Banksy and KAWS and work with commercial art galleries.

For more graffiti-related arrests see:

Artist Sues NYPD for Falsely Arresting Him as Banksy

Graffiti Art Crackdown in Detroit Divides City

Harsher Prison Sentences Coming for Street Artists?

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