Ever since last September, when a piece of graffiti art made by the elusive artist Banksy disappeared from the outskirts of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, officials have been trying to figure out who exactly did the deed. Earlier in February, two men were arrested in connection with the perplexing art theft, and now, one of these suspects has reportedly appeared before the French magistrate, saying that he was instructed by Banksy himself to commit the robbery. Given Banksy’s long track record of pulling stunts associated with his own work, there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence to validate this argument.
However, in yet another twist to the story, Banksy himself has reportedly denied involvement in the theft via his press officer, who sent the following statement to the French newspaper Le Parisien: “The artist Banksy categorically denies any involvement at all in the theft of his Parisian works.” Whether or not Banksy’s word can be relied upon in this circumstance is an open question, but given the fact that the freedom of a potentially innocent person is in jeopardy here, it seems like it would be monstrous for Banksy to deny involvement if he actually had been involved.
The Banksy artwork in question still has yet to be found, but when it was stolen, it was cut out from behind its protective plastic covering by two men who were actually filmed doing so. Antoine Vey, the lawyer for the suspect in the robbery who appeared before the French magistrate last Friday, said that there were “several elements” that back up the theory that his client was working on behalf of Banksy: the suspect reportedly has connections to Banksy’s entourage, and the suspect’s home is also filled with works by Banksy that the lawyer claims were “given to him.”
Whatever the case may be, it seems like the authorities aren’t that much closer to figuring out who’s responsible for the crime. Either Banksy is continuing to push the limits when it comes to elaborate art pranks, or he has an extremely loyal and devoted fan.