Why you can steal a Banksy from your hotel

Why you can steal a Banksy from your hotel

Melbourne hotels are encouraging guests to steal art -- but not toiletries or the mini-bar
This Banksy street work in New Orleans may give budding thieves some ideas.

Who can claim they’ve never stolen anything from their hotel? Who has never stuffed their bags with boutique toiletries or done a runner before paying their mini-bar bill?


Well, after many years of bearing the brunt of petty thieves, a group of Melbourne hotels are now encouraging their guests to make off with $15,000 worth of art.

It happens to be an original work by the world’s most famous street artist –- and the world’s most famous anonymous person -- Banksy.

Yep, if you manage to nick the Banksy that's hanging in one of Melbourne's Art Series Hotels -- either The Cullen, The Blackman or The Olsen -- and stash it until January 15, 2012, you can keep it.

What’s more, if you’re caught the police won't get involved. The art just returns to its wall -– no questions asked.

Easy, right? Well, depends if you’re a good thief.

First, you have to find the artwork. It could be hanging anywhere in the hotels.

Maybe the staff would know –- but the hotels aren’t encouraging corruption, only thievery –- so it’s not a question of offering someone a back-hander.

Then you have to discreetly make off with the Banksy and hide it somewhere safe.

More on CNNGo: Legal street art and Underground graffiti

No angle grinder needed

Let’s remember, this has been done before. In 2007, thieves used an angle grinder to remove Banksy’s stencil around a sign saying “No Ball Games.”

The artwork was later put up for sale on eBay for a cool £20,000. Which wasn’t bad, really, as Banksy’s “Keeping it Spotless” sold for nearly $2 million in 2008.

Maybe guests could score a handsome booty by selling this precious Banksy canvas.

But be warned, the challenge comes with a few rules: ''If we catch you, and ask you to stop and put it back, then you have to stop and put it back,” the hotels warn.

So no punching out the security guard and making for the getaway car –- then the police might be called. Remember, it’s a game.

The hotel begs: “Be a polite, respectful and sophisticated art crook with an eye for a good Banksy. Be cool. Art thieves are always cool.”

Oh, cool. What about shampoo, towel and whiskey thieves? Are they cool too?

More on CNNGo: Melbourne hotels for all budgets

Art Series Hotels where you can make off with the Banksy

The Cullen Hotel, 164 Commercial Road, Prahran, +61 (0)3 9098 1555, www.artserieshotels.com.au/cullen

The Blackman Hotel, 452 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, +61 (0)3 9039 1444, www.artseries.com.au/blackman

The Olsen Hotel, 637-641 Chapel St., South Yarra, +61 (0)3 9040 1222, www.artseries.com.au/olsen