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At the heart of this investigation, a fashion entrepreneur from the Lyon region is suspected of having exfiltrated this work – a young woman on the verge of tears in tribute to the victims – so famous that it seems unsaleable.
By François Krug (with Simon Piel) Posted today at 01:35, updated at 15:07
The thieves took their time, mocking the surveillance cameras. That night in January 2019 in Grenay, a small town in Isère, they robbed the Gedimat, a store for handymen and building professionals. Trivial news item. A year later, suspects are heard at the Heyrieux gendarmerie. As Le Dauphiné libéré would later reveal, one of them boasts of having used part of the material stolen for another theft, committed ten days later. This one moved the entire planet.
On the night of January 25 to 26, 2019, a van parks near the Bataclan in Paris. Three men cut out a security door from the room and take it away, along with the work covering it: a Banksy stencil. The anonymous street art star paid tribute to the victims of the 2015 attack, painting a young woman on the verge of tears. A work so well known that it seems unsaleable.
The investigation is slipping. It finally bounced back in Isère and led to Italy. As revealed by Le Journal du dimanche (JDD), she follows in the footsteps of Mehdi Meftah, 39, a former kid from the Lyon suburbs. Particular sign: he created a luxury streetwear brand borrowing its logo from Banksy …
On June 10, around fifteen Italian riflemen and three French police officers landed in a modest hotel in Tortoreto, in Abruzzo. A charming building, far from the beach. About ten rooms, 50 euros per double in winter, 80 at the height of the summer season. They are looking for a package left by Mehdi Meftah. The owner, Giacomino P., drives them not far from there, to Sant’Omero. There he owns a house lost in the countryside. In the attic, he points to a panel wrapped in black plastic.
“The owner didn’t know what was in this package, he was doing a service to a customer who had become a friend. »The lawyer for the Italian hotelier who held the Banksy
According to our information, Giacomino P. explains to investigators that he has known Mehdi Meftah for four years. This client was introduced to him by a common acquaintance, Raffaele P., who works in the import-export of cars between Lyon and Abruzzo. From 2016, the French come several times a year. With family or alone, for vacation or for business that he does not detail.
In October 2019, he arrives in a van with two friends, and the panel packed. He evokes a decoration for the house he is setting up in La Seyne-sur-Mer (Var) and asks if he can store it there until his next visit, at Christmas. “The owner did not know what was in this package, he was doing a service to a client who had become a friend,” assures us his lawyer, Angelo Palermo. The package is stored in the facility’s garage.
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World news – EN – Banksy’s incredible journey stolen from Bataclan, then found in Italy