Six people have been arrested in France over the theft of a Banksy mural from the Bataclan music venue in Paris. The work, a tribute to the victims of the 2015 Paris terrorist attack which left 90 concertgoers dead, was removed last year from a fire door at the venue by thieves armed with angle grinders. The theft was denounced across France, and. the work was recovered from an Italian farmhouse earlier this month.
“Today we are deeply indignant,” the Bataclan wrote on Twitter after the mural was stolen. “Banksy’s work, a symbol of memory and belonging for everyone—locals, Parisians, citizens of the world—was stolen from us.”
On June 10, French police in collaboration with Italian authorities discovered the stolen mural in the attic of an abandoned farmhouse in Italy’s Abruzzo region. The six suspects were arrested across France in a coordinated operation spearheaded by Paris police. According to the Guardian, two have been charged with organizing the robbery while the other four have been charged with concealing the theft. All six are awaiting trial in detention.
The artwork, depicting a mournful, veiled woman, was created as a memorial to the coordinated terrorist attacks across Paris on November 13, 2015, which resulted in the death of 139 people. It was one of a dozen works made by the anonymous British artist during a visit to the French capital in 2018. Thieves have made attempts to steal other works produced during that period, including a stencil drawing of a rat installed outside the Centre Pompidou made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the month-long student protests against then-President Charles de Gaulle in 1968.