Suspect arrested on suspicion of stealing Banksy stop sign

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A man suspected of stealing a Banksy piece featuring three military drones at a stop sign β€” less than an hour after the elusive artist posted it β€” was arrested in London on Saturday.

A man in his 20s has been arrested on suspicion of theft and criminal damage, the Metropolitan Police said.

Officials added that he will remain in custody pending investigations.

An unidentified man and an accomplice were filmed less than an hour after using bolt cutters to remove anti-war artwork from a traffic stop in the Peckham district on Friday afternoon.

One of them was seen balancing on a rented bike so he could reach the sign while the other held the bike for him.

As shocked onlookers shouted for the pair to stop, the person who cut the gesture took it in hand and sped away.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing Banksy's latest art installation. ZUMAPRESS.com

The incident came to light after the anonymous graffiti artist posted the location of his latest creation along with photos of it on Instagram around 12.30pm local time.

A witness identified only as Alex said evening standard A few people “enjoy it and take pictures” as the thieves approach.

“This guy comes up and grabs it, and we watch in awe as he hits it. He puts the lime bike under the sign, stands on the lime bike and tries to hit the sign, hits it with his hand, and it doesn't go anywhere,” he said.

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Officials said that the arrested person is 20 years old. ZUMAPRESS.com

β€œHe fell off Lime's bike at one point. He disappeared and then reappeared two minutes later with the bolt cutters, trying and trying and trying while everyone watched.

The onlooker added: “He tore it up and ran across the road. He didn't say anything. He didn't seem to care that much about the art.”

Jasmine Ali, deputy chairperson of the local borough council, called for the piece to be withdrawn.

Officials have since put up a new stop sign at the spot. AP

“It shouldn't have been taken down and we want it back so everyone in the community can enjoy Banksy's amazing work,” Ali said.

Social media users speculated that the red STOP sign artwork was linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The stop sign was replaced.

Banksy's artwork can fetch top dollar on the resale market, with a half-dismembered piece fetching around $25 million at auction in 2018.

With post wires.

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