Masked men steal Banksy mural honoring victims of Bataclan attack in Paris

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By Nancy Ing and Minyvonne Burke

PARIS — A Banksy mural at the Bataclan theater in Paris honoring victims of the November 2015 terrorist attack there was stolen by three masked men wearing gloves who used an electric saw and crowbar to remove the door the artwork was painted on, the theater’s director said.

The Bataclan said in a post on Facebook on Saturday that it was outraged over the theft of the painting, which depicts a veiled female figure looking at the ground in a mournful pose.

The black and white mural was unveiled in June 2018 on the theater’s fire door, three years after terrorists stormed the venue during a rock concert as part of coordinated attacks in and around the French capital that left more than 120 people dead. Ninety of those victims died at the Bataclan when gunmen linked to ISIS opened fire during an Eagles of Death Metal concert.

Florence Jeux, director of the Bataclan, told NBC News that a security camera caught the thieves cutting the door, loading it in a truck and driving off. Jeux said the robbery took roughly 10 minutes.

“The painting was even protected by a Plexiglass. The whole door disappeared,” Jeux said. “The security alarms went off and our security agency immediately alerted us.”

The surveillance video was handed over to Paris police investigating the robbery.

“Artist Banksy offered this work of art on the Bataclan emergency exit door for a reason,” the theater wrote in a translated Facebook message, saying the mural was a “momentum of tribute and support.”

“The very essence of urban art is to give life to a work of art in a particular environment, and we are convinced that this work only made sense in that place, that is why we wished to leave it, free, on the street, accessible to all.”

Nancy Ing reported from Paris, and Minyvonne Burke from New York.

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