PARK CITY -- Park City Police believe they know who vandalized two popular Banksy works on New Year’s Eve morning. They’re looking for a man who is taking credit for the crimes through videos on YouTube.
“He goes to a lot of effort to conceal himself. Even though he wants to be known, he seems to want to not be known, at the same time,” said Capt. Rick Ryan of the Park City Police Department.
A user, who goes by a fictitious name, documented his trip into Park City, according to police, and then filmed himself destroying the Banksy works.
“Clearly, we see the individual who is committing the act and listening to his ranting and ravings as he is doing that,” Ryan said.
A few days after the works were found, videos of the incident began appearing on the account. The man behind the camera refers to someone named “Rick” throughout them; however police believe he is talking in the third person the entire time.
“He’s kind of all over the place, especially as you read the article that goes with it,” Ryan said.
Included with the footage of the vandalism is text from the man explaining why he dislikes Banksy’s work enough to destroy it.
One excerpt reads, “…His crap sells for $400,000 dollars and Rick’s art sits in the back of his car, as he spare changes for something to eat.”
“He appears angry that he’s not getting recognition,” Ryan said. “That he’s been at this for 20-some years and people are going to finally pay attention.”
But people aren’t necessarily paying attention to whatever it is the man is trying to convey.
“His point is not really taken. He’s actually now a part of that same circle he’s fighting against. So, it doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Luciana Salmi, general manager at Java Cow.
The Banksy image along the Main Street coffee shop was not ruined, despite the vandal’s efforts. The artist’s second piece, though, was not so lucky. The casing was found broken and the work rendered unrecognizable by brown spray paint.
“I really do not get the point,” Salmi said. “He’s destroying art, just destroying it. Why doesn’t he make art over art, if he’s trying to make something different?”
Whatever the point, police said it’s clear to them that the man behind the videos wants credit for his work, whether people like it or not.
“His mission in life, it appears, is destroying other people’s work,” Ryan said.
Other videos on the page show him vandalizing Banksy works found in California. According to Ryan, they are working with authorities there to track him down.
“I’m sure he’s been a lot of other places that we just haven’t tied him to those locations yet,” Ryan said. “His sole purpose is destroying other people’s property.”