The balloons, which a gallery owner specializing in Banksy's work, said are worth $200,000 to $300,000, were seized from three men arrested on trespassing charges for attempting to use ladders to remove the balloons from the building where they had been left by the artist as a parting gift following his monthlong visit to New York, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
However, police said the balloons, taken as "arrest evidence," were classified as "balloons" instead of "art," meaning they might never see release.
"The item description is never changed," said Deputy Chief Jack Trabitz, the commanding officer of the property clerk division. "You can't re-describe it. It's a balloon."
The classification may lead to the balloons being discarded, as no one has claimed the objects. Evidence items may also end up on the auction block if the department deems them to be valuable, but no such move has yet been made.
The balloons were seized Oct. 31 when Jimmy Chiang, 31, David Aguilar, 25, and Ronald Galarza, 24, were arrested on charges of criminal trespassing. Chiang was also charged with criminal mischief.
Video taken at the time of the arrest depicts one of the men saying they had planned to have the balloons displayed "in a museum."