Authorities Arrest 6 Suspects in France Over the Theft of Banksy’s Mural Commemorating the Bataclan Attack

The mural was recovered earlier this month, one year after it was swiped from its home outside the Paris theater.

The Banksy mural on the exit door of the Bataclan in Paris. The work was stolen early Saturday morning. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images.
The Banksy mural on the exit door of the Bataclan in Paris. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images.

Authorities have arrested six people in connection with the theft of a Banksy mural dedicated to victims of the 2015 Paris attacks. The work was recovered in a farmhouse in Italy, near the Adriatic coast, earlier this month.

On a visit to Paris in 2018, Banksy installed the stenciled mural of a somber-looking woman with a veil on a steel door outside of the Bataclan theater to commemorate the 90 lives lost. It had been at large since last January, when hooded thieves removed the piece with an angle grinder.

Now, six individuals have been placed in custody in connection with the crime, which caused widespread anger throughout France, while they await trial. Two have been put under investigation for organized theft and four others have been accused of concealing the theft. While the identities of the suspects have not been revealed, Euronews reports that the local French departments of Isère, Haute-Savoie, Var, Rhône, and Puy-de-Dôme were involved in the investigation.

Workers prepare Banksy’s recovered mural on June 10, 2020. (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

The work was in good condition when it was found by French and Italian police. The art-adorned metal had been stored in the attic of a farmhouse occupied by Chinese nationals who appeared unaware of the valuable artwork hiding in the uppermost floor.

According to the Evening Standard, one of the French police officers who had intervened during the Bataclan theater attack was also on the scene when the door was rediscovered and “was overcome with emotion.”

When the work was shown to the public this June after its recovery, the French embassy expressed its relief. “It belongs to the Bataclan,” said Christophe Cengig, a liaison of the French embassy, at the event. “It belongs to all of France, in a sense.” He added that the Bataclan theater owners “were thrilled, very happy” that the work had been recovered.

This isn’t the only Banksy to be targeted by thieves. In May, an opportunistic thief in a hazmat suit was caught attempting to steal a Banksy work from a hospital in Southampton, UK, mere days after it was installed.

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