Banksy Vandal Can Avoid Jail by Paying $13,000 for Restoration

A Banksy mural in Park City.
Photo: InSapphoWeTrust, Flickr.

David William Noll, a repeat offender when it comes to defacing Banksy murals, pleaded guilty to damaging two pieces by the British street artist in Park City, Utah, on December 31, 2013. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for November, but if Noll pays $13,000 in restoration costs before that date, prosecutors have agreed not to seek jail time, reports the Associated Press.

The 36-year-old California artist was charged with criminal mischief in the case last month (see “Utah Man Charged for Defacing Banksy Murals“). The paintings date to 2010, when Banksy was allegedly at the Sundance Film Festival for the debut of his documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop (which launched the career of possibly-fake hanger-on graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash—see “Banksy Wannabe Mr. Brainwash Unveils 9/11 Mural at WTC“).

On YouTube, Noll had expressed frustration with the unflagging popularity of Banksy’s work. He also recorded and posted footage of himself painting over Banksy murals in both Park City and Los Angeles. In the videos, said Summit County attorney David Brickey, “he said it was graffiti, and he was just marking it up again.”

Noll successfully smashed the glass protecting a painting of a haloed, angel-winged young boy praying to a can of spray paint, obscuring it with brown paint. Another painting, of a videographer filming a flower, was behind bullet-proof glass. It cracked, but protected the artwork from further damage at Noll’s hands. Although he claimed not to remember the incident, after watching back his own YouTube videos, Noll, who suffers from bi-polar disorder, admitted that he must have been responsible for the vandalism.

Earlier this year Noll also pleaded guilty to painting over two Los Angeles Banksy murals (see “Artist Who Painted Over Banksy Mural Pleads Guilty on Felony Charges“). At the time, it was reported that he would serve 60 days of community service and 3 years probation, but the AP reports that he spent five months in jail for the California offenses.

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