The work features a rat with a mask over his muzzle -Banksy’s avatar, symbolizing the downtrodden- holding a utility knife, the instrument Banksy uses to cut out his stencils. Plexiglass was placed around the piece for protection, but the museum suspects thieves cut it out with a saw. It’s been said the museum’s security guards had already caught thieves trying to snatch the work a year ago.
According to the BBC, The Centre Pompidou said in a statement:
We are sad to inform you that Banksy’s work of art facing our building on rue Beaubourg was stolen during the night. Although this piece was not part of our collection, we are proud that the artist had chosen the side of our building to create it, as an homage to the events of May︐68. We are filing legal complaint.
The Pompidou, which houses Europe’s biggest collection of Contemporary Art but does not own the Banksy work, said it had filed a police complaint for destruction of property.
Although Banksy rarely claims credit for his graffiti, the artist posted a photo of the piece to Instagram a few days after it was installed in June of last year. He captioned the photo, “Fifty years since the uprising in Paris 1968. The birthplace of modern stencil art.” alluding to demonstrations against then-President Charles de Gaulle and for political reform.
The theft comes seven months after another Banksy oeuvre paying homage to the victims of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris was stolen from outside the Bataclan, the concert venue where Islamic State gunmen massacred 90 people and an anti-capitalist mural in the Left Bank, featuring a businessman in a suit offering a dog a bone after sawing the animal’s leg off, has also disappeared.