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Eight men convicted after stealing Banksy artwork from Paris' Bataclan venue

Last week, eight men were convicted for stealing an iconic Banksy artwork in a French court. 

As reported in the Nationalthe piece, which features a mournful young woman, was painted on the door of the Bataclan concert venue in Paris as a memorial to those who were killed during the Eagles of Death Metal show in the 2015 terrorist attack. However, in 2019, the door was stolen by a group of thieves who cut through the hinges and left the scene in under ten minutes. 

Sparking an expansive investigation, the police eventually tracked the door to an Italian hotel on the Adriatic Sea in 2020, and shortly after, the men who orchestrated the plot were found, and now they have been convicted. Three of the men who confessed to the theft were given prison sentences. However, all of the group will be able to serve their time outside of jail by wearing electronic ankle tags. 

One of the men, who is thought to have masterminded the operation, was given a three-year sentence, but will also serve it wearing an ankle bracelet. Interestingly, he was convicted of handling stolen goods and not of theft, and he was already a millionaire after winning the lottery a few years ago. 

Three other men, who helped with transporting the door were jailed for ten months. Another man, an Italian, who owns the hotel where the Banksy piece was found, has had his license suspended for six months. 

The prosecutor, Valeria Cadignan, told the court this month that the thieves didn’t intend to vandalise the memorial, but “being aware of the priceless value of the door were looking to make a profit” as the National informed. “[They] acted like vultures, like people who steal objects without any respect for what they might represent”.

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