This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
Last weekend, in the early hours of Sunday morning, a man walked into an art exhibit in Toronto and matter-of-factly stole a Banksy print reportedly worth $45,000 [$35,000 USD].
The print, called "Trolley Hunters," was hanging at an exhibit in west Toronto called The Art of Banksy, which opened earlier this week and is running until early July. The exhibit, which wasn’t sanctioned or endorsed by the reclusive artist, consists of a reported $35 million [$26 million] worth of the anonymous artist's work—well, I guess it would be worth a little less now.
Toronto Police released the footage of the theft on Wednesday showing the cocky thief looking hilarious as hell stealing the print—it is, in itself, art.
The man, who came to the exhibit at around 5 AM (days before the exhibit’s public opening), enters simply through the front door. He is covering his face with a black sweater and camo hat. He entered slowly with his arms crossed and you can see him edge himself closer and closer to the print. Then he springs, scooping the art off the wall and turns to make his break for the door. Now, for the pièce de résistance, the thief—picture frame firmly in hand—does that little skulking walk cartoon characters do when they know they're doing something wrong but don’t want to be suspicious about it.
[insert chef kiss emoji]
The exhibit, put on by a former manager of the artist, has many people saying it’s the antithesis of the artist’s ethos. According to a critical Now Toronto review of the exhibit, the exhibit has sold over 50,000 tickets at 35 bucks [$26 USD] a pop.
There is a growing conspiracy theory that it could have been the artist himself grabbing the print, or that it could be a publicity stunt by the organizers—something they roundly deny. After all, the theft plays out sort of like the inverse of an iconic Banksy moment from 2003, when the artist walked into the Tate [museum] in London and hung one of his own works on the wall.
The exhibit has been billed as the largest ever of Banksy’s art and with this little video of this man skulking away with the print, well, we have one more piece of the art for the collection—even if it’s not Banksy himself doing it.
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