An Invitation to Steal

Posted on: January 24th, 2012

Whilst most places ensure maximum security to prevent theft, this summer the Art Series Hotels in Melbourne Australia challenged its guests to locate and steal works by Banksy from their hotels. If the guests could get away with the theft, they were rewarded with the print, if they got caught, then it went back on the wall. The first Banksy NO Ball Games was quickly ‘stolen’ by Maura Tuohy and Megan Aney, after a successful impersonation of hotel staff tasked with moving the painting. The second Banksy, Pulp Fiction remained safe in the hotel’s care despite several imaginative attempts.Some of the interesting but failed attempts to steal the works included:

• Re-wiring the internal security cameras so would be thieves couldn’t be seen

• Distracting the security with stories of broken room furniture and fittings

• Scantily clad women distracting staff

• A man with a tall broom attempted to unhinge the painting and run away

• A few brazen hit and run attempts

• Some impostors pretending they were hotel staff

• Another Impostor pretending he was a tradesman (complete with a ladder)

• A Bonnie and Clyde post modern attempt by two people who Twittered their every move

The challenge was seemingly organised to raise awareness of art theft as well as promote the work of Crimestoppers in their pursuit of thieves. The remaining Banksy will now be gifted to Crimestoppers, who will auction off the work, so that the much needed proceeds can go to the prevention and reporting of crime.