Two arrested over Banksy artwork stolen in Paris

Two people have been arrested in connection with the theft of a Banksy artwork in Paris, which is still missing.

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Police arrested two people, one aged 32 and another aged 35, on the morning of Tuesday February 4. The suspects are from Seine-et-Marne and Val-d'Oise, and are known to the police already for a series of small infractions.

The theft of the Banksy - who is a famous, anonymous, British graffiti artist - took place overnight from September 1-2 2019.

Witnesses said that two thieves came with a forklift truck and stole the graffiti by cutting it out painstakingly from the metal sign on which it was painted - leaving a hole (pictured, below) - at number 36 rue Rambuteau in the third arrondissement, near the Pompidou Centre.

(Photo: Mark 1333 / YouTube / Screenshot / BBC News)

The theft was caught on camera by nearby residents, who were awoken by the noise. The thieves made no attempt to hide, and were in fact wearing yellow vests and brought a truck with flashing lights, in a possible attempt to make themselves look like legitimate municipal workers.

After the arrests, police searched the homes of the suspects and found pieces resembling the work of Banksy, but their exact origin is yet to be confirmed. The specific “rat” work in question has still not been found.

It is not yet clear if the suspects are the original thieves, dealers, or illegal collectors.

The work was painted in 2018 in celebration of 50 years since the protest year of 1968, and featured Banksy’s well-known rat motif character wearing a face mask and holding a craft knife.

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