Masked Graffiti Gang Use Paint-Filled Fire Extinguishers To Destroy Iconic Street Art
A horde of hooded vandals used fire extinguishers and paint guns to destroy Insta-famous street murals in a brazen attack they filmed with drones and expensive cameras.
Melbourne's Hosier Lane, known for its large murals, was defaced by a group of around 10 people on Saturday evening. The gang of 10, wearing t-shirts over their faces as makeshift masks, used fire extinguishers and pressure sprayers to scribble the walls with thick, multi-coloured paint.
Their daylight attack was captured by a drone camera flying overhead, as well as other men filming the incident with handheld cameras.
Victorian tourism minister Martin Pakula called the group "idiots", while Melbourne's Lord Mayor Sally Capp called the attack "unacceptable" and an "extreme act of vandalism".
The incident was filmed by stunned onlookers, who watched the vandalism occur in the popular city laneway. The walls, as well as the lane's famous cobblestone floor, were covered in paint.
Hosier Lane, just off Flinders Street and Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne, has become an iconic scene for street art and graffiti.
Some of the murals attacked and damaged in the spray-paint incident included those of pop star Lizzo, and Australian comedian Celeste Barber.
Barber's face was painted on the laneway's walls after her record Facebook fundraiser helped raise more than $50 million for bushfire relief.
10 daily has contacted Victoria Police and the City of Melbourne for comment.
"For idiots to try and destroy that for their own gratification, just boggles my mind, quite frankly. I hope they are caught and I hope they are dealt with," Pakula said on Monday.
"I've got no doubt our street artists will be there to paint more wonderful art and to redress the ridiculous behaviour of these vandals."
Capp said the incident had been reported to police.
"This is unacceptable and is not in keeping with the spirit of Hosier Lane. We see this act as vandalism particularly given the damage they’ve done to the pavement and cobblestones," she said.
"Council contractors attended Hosier Lane this morning to clean the cobblestones and curbing."
Inspector Troy Papworth, of Victoria Police, said officers would investigate the incident, which could constitute offences of criminal damage. He also said police would also probe the use of the drone in a public place.
Lord Mayor Capp said she supported street art -- admitting "the very nature of street art is that it is temporary, ephemeral and forever changing" -- but that the attack was an "extreme act of vandalism".
She said the City of Melbourne would pursue legal action against those responsible, due to the damage to the street.
"We've never seen behavour like this that has caused so much damage," Capp said at a press conference on Monday morning.
One of the stores in the lane, street wear store Culture Kings, commissioned the mural of Barber in recognition of her fundraising efforts. The store's manager, Chase Johnson, told 10 News First that he was disappointed by the vandalism, but that he would "let it go".
"At the end of the day, it's a graffiti lane. What happens is what happens... it's a graffiti lane, that's what's going to happen down here," Johnson said.