Surveillance video released by Toronto police on Thursday shows a man stealing a $45,000 Banksy artwork called Trolley Hunters from a new exhibit of the British street artist’s work.
Police say the thief entered the exhibit, set in a west end industrial building at 213 Sterling Rd., through an “interior door” around 5 a.m. on Sunday — before the show’s public opening.
The video captures the man covering his face with a black sweater and light camouflage baseball hat as he enters the main gallery space. Moments later he’s seen sneaking away carrying a single piece of art, while many more are left on nearby walls.
Trolley Hunters was on display as part of the $35-million Art of Banksy exhibit, which is not sanctioned by the reclusive artist. The exhibit was set to show 80 Banksy pieces, with tickets going for $35 each.
Corey Ross, a co-ordinator of the exhibit, told reporters at a hastily called news conference on Thursday that the artwork went missing during the exhibit’s setup.
The day before, however, both curator Steve Lazarides and the show’s publicist, Danielle Iversen, had refused to confirm any art had been reported stolen or to comment on the police investigation.
Iversen denied any suggestion the surveillance video was fake or a publicity stunt. She said the thief may have taken only one Banksy piece out of fear of discovery.
It’s unclear who owns the stolen piece of art.
A London gallery selling prints of Trolley Hunters describes it as a comment on food availability and consumption.
“Banksy considers how mankind has progressed towards a regression which sees ready-made meals available to the masses,” reads the description on the Andipa Gallery’s website.