The man who first discovered the Banksy sculpture in Queens this morning noticed it getting dropped off around 7 a.m. "by two hipsters." Once the crowds started showing up around noon and everyone was talking about this Banksy guy... he declared it to be his. But the statue was placed on public property, so unlike pieces that have gone up on building walls that are owned by someone—where they can technically claim ownership—this one belongs to The People.

Nic Garcia has been on the scene all afternoon and tells us that the man is in it for the long haul, and has set up a chair and umbrella near the statue, which he has investigated (it appears to be filled with foam, not cement). Until he finds a way to get it out of there, he's been selling off bricks and stone from it for around $100 a pop (he's had at least one buyer). The stones and bricks he's selling are just loose ones that Banksy (or his team) tossed on top of the solid statue (which was made in a studio) after it was placed on site.

The man doesn't really speak English, but there is a woman—Jennifer Hunt—who says she's helping him sell it. Garcia tells us, "She said something about wanting to help them... but if she orchestrates the sale and gets paid, I doubt the guys will see a cut. At least not a good one... she said she's gonna give them 'part' of the commission." As of 3 p.m. she was on the phone with Sotheby's and is "convinced they'll buy and she'll get commission." Here she is:

Another man briefly showed up with a hammer and chisel but was chased out of the lot. This is getting ugly.

Our own Jake Dobkin commented on this mess, saying, "Once the revolution comes, all Banksy pieces will belong to the people. Only then will we be released from the chains of capitalist property law, which allows rapacious landowners to remove or destroy the work. Banksy almost certainly considers every new piece he puts up a blow against the patriarchal hegemony that oppresses us, and looks forward to the day that one final stencil brings the whole system down." He concluded with some advice to the artist: "It never hurts to buy a ladder so you can put the stencil a little higher up the wall so it lasts longer—that's a good investment for a graffiti artist."

But maybe the NYPD will just confiscate it—they just showed up on the scene at 3:20 p.m.:

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Photo by Nic Garcia/Gothamist

We'll update as this scenario spirals out of control!

UPDATE, 3:40: The NYPD officers never got out of the van. A fight almost started, but then dissipated. It got heated between "one of the guys claiming it, [he] was ready to throw down serious, so the other guy wised up and backed off." The guy on the left in the Ed Hardy tee was saying he's "trying to get rich like everyone," but the guy in red (not to be confused with the original "owner" in red) got in his face. They both work in the shops in that area.

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Photo by Nic Garcia/Gothamist

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m.: The "original" owner has had the sculpture moved. We called the moving truck company but were only told they do not speak English.:

People are picking up the remaining loose rocks and bricks: