The latest work by elusive artist Banksy has been stolen from a London street corner less than an hour after he confirmed its installation.
A red stop sign with the images of three military drones on it was taken in the middle of the day by a man with bolt cutters as witnesses snapped photos and shot a video in London.
After the artist posted a photo of it on Instagram, commenters predicted it wouldn’t be there long.
Some of his work has sold for tens of millions of dollars.
“I went there thinking that people want that, I wanted to see it before something happened to it,” a man who only wanted to be known as Alex told the Press Association.
Onlookers watched as the man took down the sign in broad daylight.(Source: Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
He was among the many onlookers who watched as a man in a red and black jacket climbed up on a bike next to the signpost and began hitting it with his hands.
“We said, ‘What are you doing?’ but no-one really knew what to do. We sort of just watched it happen,” Alex said.
“We were all a bit bemused. There was some honking of car horns.”
The man then left and returned a few minutes later with bolt cutters to finish the job.
A second man held the Lime rental bike as the thief removed the sign before running away.
The man set off with the sign in full view of photographers.(Source: Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
Banksy’s thought-provoking street art is often seen as making a political statement.
His Instagram followers widely interpreted his latest work as calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
It is not the first time a Banksy art installation has attracted attention.
The artist, who remains anonymous, is known for his politically themed work and several murals have been destroyed by British councils and companies.
Last year, a group of people in Ukraine tried to steal a Banksy mural on the side of a scorched building depicting a woman in a gas mask and dressing gown holding a fire extinguisher.
In February, council officers removed a Valentine’s Day artwork, which critics also say highlights violence against women, on the grounds of safety.
In March, builders said they “felt sick” after learning he drew a mural on a 500-year-old farmhouse.
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