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Police: Legendary Graffiti Artist Adam Cost Caught In The Act

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Graffiti artist Adam Cole – better known as Adam Cost – has returned to his craft after a self-imposed hiatus to much fanfare in recent years.

But this week, he also found himself back in handcuffs, police said.

Cost, 45, was known during the 1990s as one of the most prolific graffiti artists in the city, police said in a news release. He once specialized in wheat-pasting his tag, "Cost," onto the walls and doors of private buildings and other structures, police said.

The "Cost" moniker has been appearing again around Manhattan over the past few years, and police said they have again been the lookout. With evidence showing up that Cost was back in the game, NYPD Sixth Precinct Officer Colin Sullivan had read up on Cost and had urged his colleagues to be on the lookout for him, police said.

"The tags I saw recently appeared to be pretty fresh," Sullivan said in a news release. "Everyone in my unit was aware of what this guy looks like. I've been boring these guys to death with Adam Cost pictures."

Sullivan's partners in the Cabaret Unit allegedly spotted Cost around 4 a.m. this past Sunday as he walked back to his car on an otherwise desolate West 13th Street in the Meatpacking District, police said. Cost was carrying an extendable pole with a wet brush affixed to it, and his clothes were covered in what appeared to be "goopy paste," police said.

"We noticed this man who fit (Cost) to a 'T'," Sgt. Michael Alfieri said in a news release.

Alfieri, along with officers Craig Sikorski and William Morris, looked up to see a "Cost" tag about two feet high and three feet wide emblazoned about 20 feet over a rare wine shop, police said. Fresh adhesive was still dripping from the tag, and a container full of glue was sitting on the sidewalk below, police said.

The officers found the lid for the drum of glue right next to Cost's Porsche Cayenne, parked on the same Meatpacking District block between Seventh and Eighth avenues, police said. More glue drums and brushes were inside the SUV, police said.

The NYPD executed a search warrant on the vehicle Wednesday, and took adhesive, brushes, and hundreds of "Cost" stickers and posters, police said.

NYPD Sgt. Michael Alfieri and Officer Colin Sullivan pose before work by graffiti by artist Adam Cole, better known as Adam Cost. (Credit: NYPD)

Cost was charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti, and possession of a graffiti instrument in nine incidents this year. He was released on bail following an arraignment and was due back in court on Friday, police said.

In the 1990s, Cost was best known in New York City for his work with another graffiti artist who went by the name "Revs." At one time, signs proclaiming each of their names were seen around the city on the back of "walk/don't walk" signals, and roller pieces reading "Cost/Revs" the two names appeared on larger services.

In a 1995 letter to the editor to the New York Times, Upper East Side resident Robert Davidson called Cost "probably the worst graffiti vandal in the history of New York."

Cost's return to the streets as a graffiti artist was front-page news in the Village Voice back in March 2013. At that time, Cost had a new female "bombing partner" called ENX, and their artwork appeared for sale at the Doyle New York Street Art Auction.

Adam Cost Graffiti
Graffiti by artist Adam Cole, better known as Adam Cost. (Credit: NYPD)

The Voice reported that Cost's work was highly valuable in the art world to the point where his new tags and posters were being stolen off the street. He told the publication he once sold a piece of artwork for over $30,000.

Cost was only arrested a couple of times in 1994. On one occasion he used a broad-tip marker on a subway wall in Queens and was caught with a canister of tear gas, and on another occasion, he was caught tagging the "Cost" moniker onto the steps of another train station, police said.

The Voice reported he was once sentenced by a judge in Queens to 200 days of cleaning graffiti.

Cost then went underground for several years, until his tags resurfaced in 2010. More recently, he has taken to Instagram where he has thousands of followers, police said.

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