Man Receives Two-Year Prison Sentence for Stealing a Banksy Artwork in France - The World News

Man Receives Two-Year Prison Sentence for Stealing a Banksy Artwork in France

After trying to steal a Banksy in Paris, a man received a two-year suspended prison sentence from a French court on Wednesday.

The mysterious British graffiti artist had stenciled a masked rat holding a box cutter on the back of a Paris parking sign, near the Centre Pompidou, in 2018. The 38-year-old musician Mejdi R. admitted to using an angle grinder to remove the painted part of the sign.

The man claimed to be a friend of Banksy and said he’d been called to retrieve the artwork, along with a “team” of people who had already returned to England with the rat.

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A white man holding up his two pointer fingers and standing before an American flag at a podium with a microphone.

The defendant went on to say that the artist wanted to stop others from making money from the street art of “no value”, and to “denounce the hypocrisy of a capitalist system that decides which art had value and which does not”, the National News reported Thursday.

According to the prosecutor, a Banksy representative has denied these claims.

As part of his sentencing, Mejdi R. was also ordered to pay a fine of €30,000 ($32,000). More than €6,500 ($6,950) must be paid in damages to the Centre Pompidou, as it was deemed the custodian of the stolen work.

In response, Mejdi R has said that he was only “degrading a metal plate” not stealing a cultural asset.

The artwork remains missing. In 2018, Banksy created murals across the French capital city. He authenticated the rat with the box cutter on his Instagram page.

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