London police arrested two men accused of stealing Banksy’s latest work, less than an hour after the art was confirmed on Friday.
Banksy’s piece consisted of three military drones mounted on a red stop sign and was located in the Peckham section of south London, according to the Associated Press.
The sign was taken down in the middle of the day by a man wielding a pair of sharp-edged cutters, while witnesses took pictures and video of the robbery.
After Banksy posted a photo of the spot on Instagram, some predicted it wouldn’t last long, as some of his works have sold for tens of millions of dollars.
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A bystander, who only wanted to be identified as Alex, told The Associated Press that he went to see the stop sign before anything happened to him. He, along with several onlookers, watched a man in a red and black jacket climb onto a bicycle next to the bolted sign and start hitting it with his hands.
“We said ‘what are you doing?’ but nobody really knew what to do, we just watched it happen,” Alex told the AP. “We were all a little confused; there were some car horns.”
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The man left and returned a few minutes later with a pair of bolts. Another man allegedly secured a rental bike he was standing on before removing it and running away.
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On Saturday, London police arrested a man in his 20s on suspicion of theft and criminal damage, who was later released on bail.
Then on Sunday, a second suspect, this time a man in his 40s, was taken into custody on charges of theft and criminal damage.
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Banksy is known for his thought-provoking street art and often makes political statements with his work. Many of his Instagram followers interpreted his latest work as a call for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.