AP NEWS

Man who damaged Banksy art in US gets probation

November 17, 2014

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — A California man who pleaded guilty to defacing two murals believed to have been created by the mysterious British graffiti artist Banksy was sentenced to five years’ probation Monday.

David William Noll already has paid $9,100 toward restoring the two works damaged on New Year’s Eve. Prosecutors agreed not to seek jail time in the case if he pays the restoration costs, which are expected to total about $12,000.

Noll, 36, apologized for damaging the works, saying he suffers from bipolar disorder and remembers little of the night.

After the sentencing hearing, Noll told reporters he has launched a website to sell T-shirts and other items printed with his own art. He said he’ll use the proceeds to reimburse his parents for the restoration costs.

Noll said he had some random anger at the time the works were damaged but he doesn’t recall his exact motivation for defacing them. Police say he drove to Utah from California, defaced the works and drove back. Now in therapy, Noll said he likes Banksy’s work.

Prosecutor Matthew Bates said he’s happy with the resolution to the case, which calls for Noll to serve his probation in California and perform 100 hours of community service.

“Banksy” is a pseudonym for the graffiti artist known for silhouetted figures and spray-painted messages that show up in unexpected places. His works have sold for as much as $1.1 million at auction.

The Park City murals appeared on the city’s historic Main Street in 2010, around the time Banksy was in town for the Sundance Film Festival debut of his documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”

One depicts a young boy with a pink halo and angel wings kneeling to pray behind a can of pink paint. It was found covered in brown spray paint after the protective glass was shattered. Also damaged was a bulletproof-glass cover over a mural of a cameraman shooting video footage of a flower. A spider-web crack on the glass obscured the image.

Though Banksy’s work could be considered graffiti itself, Bates said the owners of the buildings wanted it and protected it, which made defacing it a crime.

Police say they arrested Noll after finding YouTube videos he made of the vandalism in both Utah and California, where he remains on probation.

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