World / Crime & Legal

Banksy homage to Paris attack victims stolen from Bataclan theater

Reuters, AFP-JIJI, Kyodo

A mural by British street artist Banksy on a fire-exit door at Paris’ Bataclan theater, where Islamist militants killed 90 people three years ago, has been stolen, the venue said Saturday.

The work, one of a series of murals painted last June in the French capital and attributed to Banksy, showed a veiled female figure in a mournful pose.

“We are today filled with a deep sense of indignation. The work of Banksy, a symbol of contemplation belonging to all — residents, Parisians and citizens of the world — has been taken from us,” the Bataclan said in a Twitter post.

Thieves with a van had stolen the door on which the mural was painted, a police source said.

A source close to the investigation told LCI television that “a group of hooded individuals armed with angle grinders cut the painting and took it away in a truck” on Friday night.

This work, along with other similarly themed paintings, popped up in Paris last June and has been attributed to the reclusive British street artist.

The Bataclan theater was stormed by militants during a rock concert in November 2015 as part of coordinated attacks in and around Paris that killed 130 people.

Some of Banksy’s works in Paris, which also addressed issues like immigration, were vandalized soon after they were put up, while others were protected by screens.

The murals of Banksy, who keeps his real name secret, have become prized attractions for collectors. A work created last month in an industrial town in Wales, depicting a child enjoying snow that is in fact pollution, was sold for over £100,000 ($132,000).

In Japan, graffiti discovered this month in Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture resembling the artist’s work has sparked speculation over whether they are pieces by the elusive street artist.

Banksy caused a sensation in October when one of his paintings began shredding itself, just after selling for $1.4 million.