Earlier this month, Banksy secretly installed a new artwork in a Southampton hospital, titled Game Changer, and dedicated to NHS staff and their efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic. The artwork might not have been around for long if the hospital security had been slacking off though, as a thief reportedly tried to steal it just a couple of days later (May 8).
The thief walked into the hospital wearing a hazmat suit and carrying a drill, and was noticed loitering around the painting by security guards, via CCTV. “The man just walked in brandishing a cordless drill,” a source recently toldThe Sun. “Security spotted him and asked a supervisor if they should stop him.”
“They were told to watch him and he was seen walking past the picture at least five times, clearly having a good look.”
Security subsequently escorted the potential thief out of the building, though police weren’t called to the scene.
While stealing Game Changer would have been pretty bad in itself, it would also have taken future funds from the NHS, as the artwork will be put on public display and then auctioned for NHS charities once lockdown ends.
Previous Banksy artworks have sold for millions, with “Devolved Parliament” – a painting that shows the House of Commons filled with chimpanzees – smashing estimates when it almost reached eight figures in 2019.