Utah judge orders arrest of California man accused of vandalizing Banksy graffiti art

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah judge ordered the arrest Monday of a man seen in YouTube videos defacing murals believed to have been done by the famous graffiti artist Banksy.

David William Noll has been accused of vandalizing two Banksy wall paintings in Park City, and the California man failed to appear for a court hearing on the matter Monday, prompting the warrant for his arrest.

"Banksy" is a pseudonym for the elusive artist, known for silhouetted figures and spray-painted messages that show up in unexpected places. His works have sold for as much as $1.1 million at auction.

The Park City murals appeared on the city's historic Main Street in 2010, around the time Banksy was in town for the Sundance Film Festival debut of his documentary, "Exit Through the Gift Shop."

Prosecutors say Noll vandalized the works on New Year's Eve, breaking clear protective covers and defacing one mural with paint.

A mural depicting a young boy, with a pink halo and angel wings, kneeling to pray behind a can of pink paint was covered in brown spray paint after the protective glass was shattered.

A nearby mural, featuring a cameraman shooting video footage of a flower, was not defaced, but its bulletproof covering had been cracked.

Prosecutors in Utah's Summit County said it cost almost $8,400 to restore the damaged mural and $800 to replace the glass protective cover.

Noll was charged in April with one count of criminal mischief in connection with the damage. He has not yet entered a plea.

Messages left with Noll's attorneys Monday were not immediately returned.

Investigators zeroed in on Noll after discovering YouTube videos depicting vandalism of Banksy art in Park City and elsewhere, according to charging documents.

The videos appeared to be filmed by the person defacing the murals, and one video captured the person's face as he interacted with Los Angeles police, the court papers state.

California police told Utah investigators that Noll was the man in the videos, and he was jailed in California in connection with vandalizing Banksy murals in Los Angeles.

Shiara Davila-Morales, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, said Monday that Noll pleaded no contest in April to two felony vandalism charges. He was sentenced to about five months in jail, followed by three years of probation.

Noll has since been released, and Davila-Morales said he is scheduled to be in a California court Wednesday for a restitution hearing in that case.

Authorities could arrest Noll at the hearing and send him to Utah if officials arrange it, Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Sgt. Carmen Arballo said.

It's not clear whether such a move is being coordinated, but Matt Bates, a prosecutor in Summit County, said an arrest and transfer is unlikely. His office has been working with Noll on a plea deal that prosecutors hope to have in place by Sept. 15, Noll's next scheduled Utah court date.


Follow Michelle L. Price at https://twitter.com/michellelprice

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