8 sentenced for stealing Banksy mural on Bataclan door in Paris

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A Paris court on Thursday sentenced eight men in the theft of a Banksy mural painted on the door of a concert hall that was the site of a terror attack in 2015 that killed 90 people. Photo by Claudio Peri/EPA-EFE

June 23 (UPI) — Eight men were sentenced in a Paris court Thursday for stealing a door from the Bataclan concert hall that had been painted by Banksy.

Seven French men and one Italian, aged 31-58, were sentenced to jail terms ranging from a few months to four years.

The judge, however, allowed the men to serve portions of their sentences by wearing electronic tracking bracelets instead of spending time in jail.

Banksy painted the mural, titled sad girl on the door of the Bataclan as a tribute to the 90 people who were killed in a 2015 terror attack at the venue.

The door was removed from the venue by a group of thieves using angle grinders in January 2019 and was found 18 months later in an attic at a rural farmhouse in Italy.

On Thursday, Kevin Gadouche was sentenced to four years in prison, including two years on probation, while Frank Aubert and Danis Gerizier were sentenced to three months in prison, including 18 months on probation. All three men pleaded guilty but said they were unaware of the symbolic meaning of Banksy’s work.

Another three men who were involved in transporting Banksy’s artwork were sentenced to 10 months in prison while the Italian owner of a hotel in southern Italy was given a six-month suspended sentence.

Mehdi Meftah, who was described as a 41-year-old street art enthusiast and lottery millionaire was handed a three-year sentence, including 20 months in prison.

The court rejected the notion that Meftah was the mastermind behind the operation to steal the door.

The Bataclan expressed “profound indignation” about the theft.

“This symbol of remembrance belonging to everyone, local residents, Parisians and citizens of the world was taken away,” it said.

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