Monday 24 November 2014

LA man 'tried to steal Banksy work'

Published 09/03/2014 | 02:47

People walk past a plywood barrier protecting a mural by the artist Banksy in New Orleans after what police say was an apparent attempt to steal the work (AP)
People walk past a plywood barrier protecting a mural by the artist Banksy in New Orleans after what police say was an apparent attempt to steal the work (AP)

New Orleans police are looking for a Los Angeles man accused of trying to steal a big chunk of a wall bearing a painting by the world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy.

Police have a warrant to arrest Christopher Sensabaugh, 30, on charges of attempted theft and criminal damage to property.

The mural, which locals call the Rain Girl or the Umbrella Girl, was painted on an empty building - Banksy's usual canvas.

It could be worth 200,000 dollars (£120,000) to 1.1 million dollars (£658,000), police said.

It shows a mournful girl holding an umbrella from which rain pours onto her as she extends a cupped hand into the clear air beyond the umbrella.

The wanted man was photographed by local residents, including two professional photographers, working behind a wooden screen and sitting on a rental truck. He told them he was removing the piece for an art show in London.

The man eventually left without the section of wall. A guard was posted to protect it, and it has since been plastered back into the wall.

Photographer Charlie Varley said the man gave his name only as Chris, and said he was a "private art handler from Los Angeles" hired by the building's owner to send the piece of wall to the Tate - England's national gallery - for a Banksy retrospective.

A spokeswoman for the Tate told The Associated Press there are no plans for such an exhibition.

Robert Abdalian, a lawyer for Mantua, the building's owner, said that neither he nor the building's owners know Sensabaugh.

Press Association

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