Bad News for Suspect in Ukraine's Banksy Mural Theft

Interior ministry: He could get 12 years behind bars after planning theft of $244K artwork in Kyiv suburb
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2022 2:15 PM CST
Updated Jan 3, 2023 7:24 AM CST
Police Have Banksy Mural After Attempted Theft: Ukraine
A woman stands at artwork on concrete blocks installed to protect the city from the Russian troops, in the main square in Kyiv on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
UPDATE Jan 3, 2023 7:24 AM CST

A month after thieves tried to make off with a Banksy mural worth nearly $250,000 from a scorched building in a Kyiv suburb, Ukrainian officials are offering a sign on what repercussions might be coming down the pike. The nation's interior ministry said Monday that the man they believe was behind the plan to rip down the British artist's mural in the town of Hostomel could see up to 12 years behind bars, per Reuters. The ministry, which said that the alleged mastermind had been given a "suspicion notice," noted that the suspects, who CNN reports are from the capital of Kyiv and the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy, tried to lift the $244,000 mural of a woman in a gas mask holding a fire extinguisher by using wooden planks and polyethylene. They succeeded in removing the mural from the wall, but were then "detained on the spot" by police, per a Ukrainian official.

Dec 3, 2022 2:15 PM CST

An attempt to steal a Banksy mural from the outskirts of Kyiv was foiled, a Ukrainian official said, when the thieves were spotted at the site of the artwork. The suspects were detained and the depiction of a woman wearing a bathrobe and gas mask while holding a fire extinguisher, which had been cut away from an exterior, scorched wall of a building, was in the custody of police, NBC News reports. Regional Gov. Oleksii Kuleba posted the information on Telegram.

The mysterious artist confirmed last month that he painted the mural in the suburb of Hostomel, as well as another half-dozen in places that have endured heavy fighting since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, per the Guardian. The mural wasn't damaged in the theft attempt, Kuleba said. "These images are a symbol of our struggle against the enemy," he wrote, adding, "Let's do everything to preserve the works of street art as a symbol of our future victory." (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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