Eight people have been sentenced for a 2019 theft of a Banksy mural dedicated to the victims of the 2015 terrorist attack in Bataclan.
In 2015, terrorists opened fire at a concert in Bataclan, Paris. While many tried to escape through an emergency door, ultimately 90 people were killed and 400+ were injured. In the summer of 2018, a mural appeared on the same emergency door – confirmed later to be made by British street artist Banksy. The mural featured a veiled, mournful figure in monochrome.
In January 2019, the mural – along with the door – was stolen. Authorities said that hooded people arrived at the location early morning, cut the door, and escaped on a truck. The theft of the beloved work sparked public outrage, prompting a wild hunt by law enforcement agencies. In June 2020, agencies tracked the painting to Italy and recovered it. Eight men were subsequently arrested and presented before the court. They were found guilty of theft of property and illegal transport to Italy. Bataclan had tweeted this after the theft: We are today filled with a deep sense of indignation. The work of Banksy, a symbol of remembrance belonging to all—locals, Parisians, citizens of the world—has been taken from us.”
However, this is far from the first time a Banksy mural was subject to theft. Due to their public nature, and the huge amount they fetch on the black market, Banksy murals have been a prime choice for art thieves. In 2013, a mural in London was stolen and later discovered before being auctioned in Miami. Another mural outside Centre Pompidou in Paris was stolen recently.