The building's owner called police Friday evening, saying someone was attempting to cut out the painting, which Banksy had created after Hurricane Katrina, said Officer
The mural is among more than a dozen made in 2008 in
Many have since been painted over or destroyed. This one shows a mournful girl holding an umbrella from which rain pours onto her as she extends a cupped hand into the open air around her.
Word of activity at the site appeared Friday afternoon on
"He said, 'Oh, the picture is going to
She got home and posted a photo with the message, "Bye Bye Banksy! My neighborhood's most famous little girl is moving to
"It just didn't add up to me. The whole scenario seemed off," Lapeyrouse, operations manager at
It was his day off, so he went to take a look for himself.
When he asked to see a permit for work on the vacant building, the two men could not provide one. They told him the building's owners wanted to send the painting to a museum. "They couldn't tell me who the owner was or the name of the museum," Lapeyrouse said.
"I left and came back and called the police and called every authority I could think of in the city," he said.
There are differing accounts of when police were actually notified. Lapeyrouse said that the first time he called, a 911 dispatcher told him "they sent someone out there already and the gentleman told them the same story they had told me."
Flot, meanwhile, said the only record for a call reporting an attempted theft at
Lapeyrouse said he stayed as long as he could, but finally left to get his dogs from day care. When he returned the men had gone, but Lapeyrouse stuck around in case they came back. More neighbors showed up. Lapeyrouse said he also tore down the plywood screen.
Flot said that after the owner contacted police, they began an investigation. However, the identities of the suspects remain unknown.
Neighbors said a guard hired by the owner arrived Friday evening. A guard was still there Tuesday. A new plywood shield was erected, keeping the painting out of reach.
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