Utah Man Charged for Defacing Banksy Murals

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

A man has been charged with criminal mischief after he vandalized two murals that Banksy painted in Park City, Utah. A warrant is out for the arrest of David William Noll, who allegedly took a hammer and spray paint to two works the elusive British street artist created on the occasion of the Sundance Film Festival screening his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop in 2010. The attacks occurred on New Year’s Eve 2014, and Noll was charged with the second-degree felony on April 8, the Wall Street Journal reports.

One mural escaped the attacks unscathed, while the other was badly damaged. A painting of a cameraman filming a flower, done on the exterior of a coffee shop, was saved because the business’s owner Ken Davis had spent some $1,500 on protective, bullet-proof glass to protect his prized Banksy. A local metal-smith also fashioned a customized frame to fit around the painting. Though Noll managed to smash the glass, he couldn’t get to the mural beneath it.

Park City’s other Banksy, showing a young boy on his knees in prayer with crude pink angel wings protruding from his back, was not so fortunate. Its protective glass was shattered, and it was painted over with brown paint.

“There is no way you could consider what Noll did as graffiti art,” Jim Tozer, the owner of the defaced Banksy mural, told the WSJ. “It could only be describe as wanton destruction of a small piece of Park City’s heritage driven by jealous rage.”

Luckily for Davis and Tozer, and unfortunately for Noll, a video posted on YouTube shows him attacking and painting over the mural of the boy.

“It’s not every day I get to prosecute somebody for vandalizing graffiti,” Matthew Bates, the case’s lead prosecutor, told the WSJ.

If convicted, Noll faces as many as 15 years in jail and a fine that could be as high as $10,000, though according to Bates a plea deal is in the works. A hearing in the case will take place on September 15.

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