Banksy vandal, apologetic, ordered to pay for damage in Park City
A 3rd District Court judge on Monday sentenced the man who vandalized a Banksy artwork along Main Street just before New Year’s, and attempted to get to another one, to up to five years in prison but said he would not have to serve time if he complies with the rest of the sentence.
David Noll, who is 36 years old and from Modesto, Calif., appeared before Judge Todd Shaughnessy at Silver Summit more than 11 months after he smashed the glass protecting the angel boy piece and vandalized the artwork with spray paint. The Banksy is on a garage behind the Cunningham Building. Noll attempted to vandalize the Banksy piece depicting a videographer on the Java Cow building, cracking but not breaking the protective glass.
The judge required Noll perform 100 hours of community service and continue his treatment in California for mental health issues. Noll was put on probation for five years.
Noll must pay restitution to the building owners. Prosecutors said the restitution is estimated at between $9,000 and $12,000. Matthew Bates, who led the prosecution for the Summit County Attorney’s Office, said $9,100 in restitution has been deposited with the court. The remainder has not been calculated. The majority of the overall amount of restitution is sought to reimburse the owner of the Cunningham Building for hiring a painting conservator to remove most of Noll’s spray paint and then restore the piece. The owner of the Java Cow building replaced the badly cracked protective glass.
Noll apologized inside the courtroom when the judge asked him if he wanted to make a statement. He said he feels terrible about the vandalism.
Noll in September pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony count of criminal mischief. Prosecutors reduced the charge from a second-degree felony as part of a plea agreement. Summit County Attorney David Brickey in September also indicated he would not recommend Noll serve prison time as part of the agreement.
"I’d like to first apologize to the people of Park City. I’m really sorry for the destruction that happened here," Noll told reporters in the parking lot outside the court on Monday.
He said he appreciated the judge suspending the prison time.
It was the most notable act of vandalism in Park City since Banksy created the two artworks and several others early in 2010. The famous graffiti artist traveled to Park City that year as the Sundance Film Festival screened a documentary about Banksy. He is believed to have created five pieces in Park City.
The two Banksy pieces Noll targeted became an attraction along Main Street shortly after Banksy created them. People are oftentimes seen taking photographs of the crouching videographer focused on a flower on the south wall of the Java Cow building. The angel boy piece on the Cunningham Building garage does not attract the same traffic as the Java Cow image, but people are sometimes seen seeking it out. Vandals targeted the two pieces prior to Noll’s attack, but none of the earlier cases was as serious as the one perpetrated by Noll.
The Park City Police Department linked Noll to the cases after an investigator found an online video showing the vandalism as it occurred. A related video showed Noll involved with police in Southern California. Park City investigators contacted the agency seen in the video and obtained Noll’s identity, prosecutors said at the time.
"The people who own these buildings — the Java Cow and Cunningham Building — have taken steps to protect this artwork and shown this is now theirs, they want to keep it, this is their property," Bates said after the sentencing. "So, when Mr. Noll goes and vandalizes these pieces of artwork, even though it would be considered technically vandalism when it started, this . . . now belongs to the owners of these buildings and by interfering with that property right, or that interest in damaging their property, he’s committing a criminal mischief."
The owner of the Cunningham Building, Jim Tozer, said in an interview afterward he supports the judge’s sentence. He said he hopes Noll performs the community service in Utah.
"I’m particularly pleased that he was punished in a publicly visible kind of a way for having desecrated public art and hope that it will serve as an example that will deter others from doing so in the future," Tozer said, adding, "It was a signature part of Sundance. He’s an internationally known street artist and this other guy was messing it up because he was trying to make an example for himself."
Park City is considering adding another legacy project that would mark the community’s role in the 2002 Winter Olympics.