Californian charged with Banksy vandalism cases in Park City |

Californian charged with Banksy vandalism cases in Park City

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The Summit County Attorney’s Office on Tuesday charged a California man with vandalizing a Banksy piece in Park City and attempting to deface another one around New Year’s.

David Noll faces one count of criminal mischief. The prosecutors brought the case as a second-degree felony based on the estimated damages. Noll is 35 years old and from Modesto, Calif., according to a charging document. A $25,000 warrant for his arrest was issued on Tuesday. A second-degree felony is punishable by between one and 15 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine upon conviction. A judge may also order restitution.

The charging document indicates California authorities are holding Noll. Charges are pending against him in California for vandalizing Banksy pieces in Los Angeles, it says. Prosecutors in Summit County want him extradited.

Summit County Attorney David Brickey said a judge in California will eventually ask Noll whether he will waive his right to challenge an extradition to Utah to face the charge in Park City. It is not clear when Noll will be brought to Park City, but an extradition would occur after the charges in California are adjudicated, Brickey said.

In a two-page charging document, Summit County prosecutors indicated the vandalism occurred on Dec. 31. Both of the cases occurred along Main Street.

The Banksy pieces were created in early 2010, when the famous graffiti artist was in Park City for a Sundance Film Festival documentary in which he starred. One of the pieces — on the Java Cow building — is of a videographer focusing his camera on a flower. The other one, which is on a garage at the Cunningham building, shows an angel boy.

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The building owners protected the two pieces shortly after they appeared. The vandal smashed the glass protecting the angel boy and then spray-painted it with brown paint. The vandal attempted to break the glass protecting the videographer, badly cracking the glass but failing to get to the Banksy itself.

The charging document says the Java Cow Banksy is protected by bulletproof glass while the one on the garage was protected by tempered glass.

Prosecutors say a Park City Police Department sergeant investigating the cases found videos on YouTube showing the vandalism in Park City as it occurred and footage of vandalism to other Banksy pieces.

"The videos were filmed by the person committing the vandalism, and the voice of the vandal and style of the videos were all identical," the charging document says.

It says a video showing the vandalism of a Banksy piece in Los Angeles includes an image of the vandal’s face and the person interacting with the police. The sergeant in Park City, Jay Randall, contacted the police in California and learned Noll’s identity, the charging document says, indicating the identity was confirmed by comparing a photograph from Noll’s driver license to the video.

"This was an absolutely phenomenal effort on behalf of the investigating officer," Brickey said.

The owner of the Cunningham building hired a painting conservator to remove the graffiti and then restore the original Banksy angel boy image. The charging document says the restoration efforts cost nearly $8,400 while replacing the glass that was meant to protect the work is estimated to cost $800. Brickey said he did not have a damage estimate for the cracked glass protecting the Banksy piece on the Java Cow building.

Restitution will be sought for both of the building owners if Noll is convicted, he said.