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Eight convicted over theft of Banksy artwork from Paris attack site


A French court has convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting paying homage to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars.

Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the heist, was given three years for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served wearing a bracelet.

Elsewhere in the capital, the defence was making its final argument in the trial of the surviving suspects in the 2015 Paris attacks, with a verdict expected on 29 June.

Banksy painted his “sad girl” work on the door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed in the worst of the 13 November 2015 jihadist attacks that hit several sites around the city. After its theft early on the morning of 26 January 2019, police eventually tracked the door to a farm in Italy.

The men who stole the work had arrived outside the Bataclan at 4am on the day of the robbery. They headed to the side of the concert hall on a narrow street where survivors had fled the concert attack in 2015. Security video footage showed three men in masks exiting a white van whose number plates were hidden.

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Using electric tools plugged into a mobile power source, they took only 10 minutes to break open the security entrance and remove the door bearing the Bansky work, which was protected by plexiglass. They placed the door in the van and escaped. A few months later, police outside Lyon made a connection with the robbery of a hardware store where electric tools and a mobile power source were taken. The suspects were placed under phone surveillance, which eventually led the police to Italy.

Three men involved in transporting the door were each jailed for 10 months, while a 58-year-old Italian man who owns a hotel where it was temporarily stored received a six-month suspended sentence.



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