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26 February 2024

Warrant for man in attempted theft of wall


New Orleans police say they're looking for a Los Angeles man accused of trying to steal a big chunk of cinderblock wall bearing a painting by the world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy.

Police have a warrant to arrest Christopher Sensabaugh, 30, on charges of attempted theft and criminal damage to property, according to an emailed news release.

An Internet database does not have a current phone number for Sensabaugh.

The mural, which locals call the Rain Girl or the Umbrella Girl, was painted on a vacant building — Banksy's usual canvas. It could be worth $200,000 to $1.1 million dollars, the news release said.

It shows a mournful girl holding an umbrella from which rain pours onto her as she extends a cupped hand into the clear air beyond the umbrella.

The wanted man was photographed by local residents, including two professional photographers, working behind a wooden screen and sitting on a rental truck. He told them he was removing the piece for an art show in London.

The man eventually left without the section of wall. A guard was posted to protect it, and it has since been plastered back into the wall, NOLA.com The Times-Picayune  (https://bit.ly/1dwAwlB) reported.

Photographer Charlie Varley said the man gave his name only as Chris, and said he was a "private art handler from Los Angeles" hired by the building's owner to send the piece of wall to the Tate — England's national gallery — for a Banksy retrospective.

A spokeswoman for the Tate told The Associated Press there are no plans for such an exhibition.

Robert Abdalian, an attorney for Mantua LLC, the building's owner, told The New Orleans Advocate ( https://bit.ly/Pdujm5) that neither he nor the building's owners know Sensabaugh.