- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Neighbors foil attempt to steal wall, Banksy mural
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Neighbors in New Orleans foiled what police say was an attempt to steal a chunk of cinderblock wall bearing a painting created by the world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy.
The building’s owner called police Friday evening, saying someone was attempting to cut out the painting, which Banksy had created after Hurricane Katrina, said Officer Garry Flot, a police spokesman. By the time of that call, he said, two suspects were gone and the mural, known locally as Umbrella Girl or Rain Girl, was still there. The painting and the long holes that had been cut around it are now shielded by plywood.
The mural is among more than a dozen made in 2008 in New Orleans by the elusive British artist, who is perhaps the world’s best-known street artist. Banksy’s works have sold at auction for as much as $1.1 million. He came to New Orleans as Hurricane Gustav was heading toward Louisiana. The images he left were generally related to the 2005 hurricane, Katrina. Well known in New Orleans, they have been the subject of news articles in the past.
Many have since been painted over or destroyed. This one shows a mournful girl holding an umbrella from which rain pours onto her as she extends a cupped hand into the open air around her.
Word of activity at the site appeared Friday afternoon on Facebook, with pictures showing a wide gap above the painting. The work was going on behind a plywood screen.
Photographer Cheryl Gerber had noticed the plywood hiding the painting not far from her house earlier in the day while driving home from an assignment. She asked a man sitting at the back of a nearby rental truck what was going on.
“He said, ‘Oh, the picture is going to London for a big show,’” she recounted.
She got home and posted a photo with the message, “Bye Bye Banksy! My neighborhood’s most famous little girl is moving to London.”
Clay Lapeyrouse was alarmed when he saw a Facebook picture of the activity.
“It just didn’t add up to me. The whole scenario seemed off,” Lapeyrouse, operations manager at Louisiana Fresh Produce, said Tuesday.
It was his day off, so he went to take a look for himself.
When he asked to see a permit for work on the vacant building, the two men could not provide one. They told him the building’s owners wanted to send the painting to a museum. “They couldn’t tell me who the owner was or the name of the museum,” Lapeyrouse said.
“I left and came back and called the police and called every authority I could think of in the city,” he said.
There are differing accounts of when police were actually notified. Lapeyrouse said that the first time he called, a 911 dispatcher told him “they sent someone out there already and the gentleman told them the same story they had told me.”
Flot, meanwhile, said the only record for a call reporting an attempted theft at 1034 North Rampart Street was from the owner about 5:15 p.m., and the first officer was sent about 7:45 p.m.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
- Nancy Pelosi washes immigrants' feet in humble Holy Week act then promotes on Twitter
- Former Blue Angels commander relieved of duty for alleged misconduct
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.