|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Monday, May 17, 2021
|The investigation that led police to stolen Banksy in Italy|
A policeman stands guard near a piece of art attributed to Banksy, that was stolen at the Bataclan in Paris in 2019, and found in Italy, ahead of a press conference in L'Aquila. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP.
by Katell Prigent
(AFP).- A stolen cutter, CCTV footage, phone taps, loose-tongued suspects... this is how an artwork by famed street artist Banksy painted on the door of the Bataclan club in Paris was discovered in Italy 18 months after being stolen.
At 4:00 am on January 26, 2019, three men wearing hoodies and masks take a cutting tool to the metal door of the Bataclan.
It is not just any old door, but the emergency exit of the famous Parisian music venue where 90 people were murdered by Islamic State gunmen on November 13, 2015.
The stencilled white image is of a "sad young girl" in homage to the victims of the Bataclan attack.
It is all over in just a few minutes: the thieves load the door into the back of the Citroen van, whose number plate has been made illegible, according to captured CCTV footage.
"It was an important investigation" for the officers, some of whom had worked on the Bataclan attack, a source close to the case tells AFP.
By "honing in" on phones located in the vicinity of the Bataclan at the time and then along the route taken by the getaway van, tracked using surveillance cameras, police are able to identify and tap the lines.
A year later, police detain three men suspected of breaking into a DIY shop in the Isere department in southeastern France.
A cutting tool is among the stolen objects and one of the suspects boasts of having been involved in a break-in in Paris.
With a link now established between the suspects and the theft of Banksy's "the sad young girl", police use wire-taps and surveillance to track down the receivers of the stolen artwork.
According to the investigators' findings, the artwork is taken to first to Isere, then to the south of France and from there on to Italy.
'Like trying to re-sell the Mona Lisa'
In Italy, the painting is initially hidden in a hotel in Tortoreto, in the central region of Abruzzo.
But when the hotel undergoes renovation work, it is relocated to an abandoned farm in Sant'Omero, some 15 kilometres (nine miles) away.
The hotel's owner, an acquaintance of one of the men suspected of receiving stolen goods, Mehdi Meftah, says he did not know what the bulky package contained.
Police decide to detain the whole gang, but the arrests are hampered by the coronavirus lockdown, the source tells AFP.
In a joint operation with Italian police, the investigators seize "the sad young girl" in Abruzzo on June 10.
The attendant publicity forces police to speed up the arrests and a total of nine people are detained in France in the following days.
Two are charged with robbery in an organised gang and another four with receiving stolen goods, including Mehdi Meftah.
The 39-year-old, with his bouncer-like looks and tattoos, founded the luxury T-shirt brand "BL1.D", which has an 18-carat gold ingot sewn into the neckline. He is suspected of ordering the theft.
"His accomplices say he wanted to keep the door for one of his houses," says the source close to the investigation, acknowledging that trying to re-sell such an artwork would be "very difficult".
"It would be like trying to re-sell the Mona Lisa," his lawyer, Yves Sauvayre, tells the weekly newspaper, Journal du dimanche, denying his client had ordered the theft.
"He was presented with a fait accompli. He agreed to take the door in order accepted to help out old acquaintances. He didn't pay a penny," the lawyer says.
At the moment, the artwork, handed back to France by the Italian authorities, is under seal and is being guarded by Paris police.
© Agence France-Presse
August 2, 2020
Art in a pandemic: Tokyo show tests if fans will come
The investigation that led police to stolen Banksy in Italy
Online exhibition includes thirteen important paintings made between 1971 and 1976 by Philip Guston
Thousands set to 'explore' Sir Ed's hut in Antarctica
Qatar Museums to welcome visitors back in August with five special exhibitions
Exhibition focuses on works from museum's collection by womxn artists
Coeur d'Alene Art Auction totals over $10 million in sales
Exhibition celebrating Evelyne Axell's feminist take on Pop Art opens at Muzeum Susch
Queensland Art Gallery revs up to reopen next week ahead of 'The Motorcycle'
Miles McEnery Gallery now representing Rico Gatson
James Silberman, editor who nurtured literary careers, dies at 93
Exhibition at Tallinn Art Hall re-examines Olev Subbi's legacy
Exhibition of new works by Martha Jungwirth inaugurates Modern Art's new London space
Northern Ireland's Ulster Museum reopens to the public, Access for All strategy announced
New short film created by Fairfield University Art Museum, captures essence of its Cuban art exhibition
Alexia Lobaina appointed Associate Curator of Education at The Cornell Fine Arts Museum
Malik B., longtime member of the Roots, is dead at 47
Pi Artworks London opens a solo exhibition of works by Nancy Atakan
Durden and Ray opens Personal Contacts, a six-part series of exhibitions
Dix Noonan Webb to hold second annual auction devoted to Indian coins
Swiss tone down national celebrations as virus cases rise
The CAS acquires 106 works by 16 artists for museums and communities across the UK
Yisrael Dror Hemed is the Winner of the Shiff Prize for Art 2020
MAMbo, Bologna announces Nuovo Forno del Pane, a new cross-disciplinary production center
Black Families Were Hit Hard by the Pandemic. The Effects on Children May Be Lasting.
Purchase products, Get coupons and Lead a happy life
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.