Suspect arrested in alleged theft of Banksy stop sign in London


(LONDON) — A suspect is in custody after a London stop sign that apparently featured the work of elusive street artist Banksy was removed on Friday, police said.

A man in his 20s has been arrested on suspicion of theft and criminal damage in connection with the removal of the road traffic sign in Peckham, in southeast London, Metropolitan Police said in a statement Saturday.

The piece — a red stop sign with three military drones on it — debuted at the corner of Commercial Way on Friday. Banksy posted photos of the work on his Instagram account with no caption.

Shortly after the work appeared, a man was captured on film and in photos removing the sign with bolt cutters and running from the scene.

“We are aware of footage being shared which shows the sign being removed,” police said.

The stop sign has since been replaced “to avoid endangering road users,” police said.

The whereabouts of the sign are currently unknown. Police asked anyone with information on the incident to contact them.

A gallery owner told the BBC the piece could be worth up to 500,000 pounds — roughly $635,000.

Jasmine Ali, deputy leader of the Southwark Council, which represents the region, called for the Banksy to be returned to Peckham.

“It’s a shame it’s been taken away because it belongs to all of us,” Ali said on social media on Friday. “We’d like it back so that everyone in the community can enjoy it.”

Beyond the Instagram post, Banksy has not publicly commented on the work or its removal.

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