• gerard van weyenbergh

2 Men in custody after arrest for the theft of a Banksy work in Paris

Two men, 32 and 35, were arrested in Val d'Oise and Seine-et-Marne on Tuesday morning, according to a source close to the investigation confirming information from LCI. They were taken into custody as part of the investigation opened by the Paris prosecutor's office on September 3 following the theft of a Banksy stencil near the Pompidou center, according to this source. A judicial source confirmed to AFP "police custody" on the commission of an investigating judge, who can then decide whether to put them under investigation.

Banksy's works were seized during the searches; they still need to be assessed to know whether they are originals or copies. The work stolen near the Pompidou center has not been found.

The British artist, who likes to keep his identity secret but is one of the most highly regarded in his community, had struck a big blow in June 2018 by disseminating a series of stencils, sometimes with a very political tone, in the capital. He had claimed authorship of eight works on his Instagram account, including a hijacking of the painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David, a sad-faced silhouette on a door of the Bataclan or a small masked rat holding up a pencil (or a cutter), near the Center Pompidou.

It is this work "produced on the back of the entrance panel" of a parking lot which was stolen on the night of September 1 to 2. The Pompidou center had filed a complaint "for theft and damage, within a space within its perimeter" . The Paris prosecutor's office then opened an investigation, entrusted to the 1st district of the judicial police.

Le Journal des Arts