Park City high-profile vandalism episodes include Black Lives Matter mural, Banksy works
Main Street cases sometimes cause controversy, or they create a stir during Sundance
There has been a series of high-profile acts of vandalism over the years on or just off Main Street involving perpetrators who eluded the police or were captured long after the act.
Some of the cases include:
• the Banksy works: Banksy, a graffiti superstar, arrived in Park City in 2010 as the subject of a Sundance Film Festival documentary, surreptitiously creating a series of works that caused a stir as Sundance opened. The most famous is an image of a videographer focused on a flower, put on the Java Cow building. Another well-known piece created at the time, depicting a kneeling angel, was affixed to a garage steps off Main Street. International buzz quickly followed. Many in Park City as well as Banksy admirers from elsewhere urged that the works be preserved. The videographer and kneeling angel works were put behind protective glass. The police did not apprehend the evasive Banksy.
• the Banksy works, targeted: in late 2013, nearly four years after Banksy created the works in Park City, someone targeted the two most famous pieces. It was, essentially, someone committing an act of vandalism against an earlier such act. The perpetrator shattered the glass protecting the image of the kneeling angel and spray-painted over the work. The person attempted to get to the videographer image, but the protective glass withstood the assault. Prosecutors months later secured a plea agreement with a California man who admitted causing the damage. The police in Park City linked the man to the cases after discovering an online video showing the vandalism as it occurred.
• the social justice murals: Park City to mark Independence Day in 2020 provided the Main Street asphalt to artists to create giant murals with social-justice themes. One of the works, with a “Black Lives Matter” message in large lettering, immediately caused controversy. Just days later, in the overnight hours, someone used gray paint to cover the word “Black” as well as cover a clenched fist symbol standing for the letter “I” in the word “Lives.” One of the other works was also vandalized. The Police Department developed a person of interest, but the man was never arrested or charged after telling investigators he was not in Park City the night of the vandalism. GPS data gathered from the man’s mobile phone showed the phone was not in Park City at the time. The police later shifted the status of the investigation to inactive, meaning the agency considers the vandalism involving the murals a cold case.
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A former mayor of Park City, Jack Thomas, recently testified at a Park City Planning Commission meeting regarding the concept for a major development at Snow Park, essentially praising the overarching vision but cautioning the review will likely be extensive.