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Charges filed over Paris 'Space Invader' mosaic thefts

French street artist Invader produces pixelated works using bathroom tiles. © KoS / Wikimedia Commons

Prosecutors filed theft charges on Thursday against two men believed to have posed as Paris city workers as they stripped the French capital's walls of pixelated works from French urban artist Invader.

The suspects, aged 29 and 33, were taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with receiving stolen goods as well as aggravated theft, said a judicial source.

Invader, whose real name or identity is unknown, produces pixelated works using bathroom tiles that hark back stylistically to early video games such as the 1978 "Space Invaders".

Two years ago, his mosaic of 1970s American cartoon character Hong Kong Phooey sold at auction at Sotheby's in Hong Kong for 212,000 euros.

So far authorities have not recovered any of the more than a dozen stolen works, which were pried off city walls during the summer.

Authorities were alerted to the thefts on social media, with Parisians snapping pictures of the pretend workers on Twitter and asking why the city was removing the mosaics.

The city quickly realised the men were not its employees.

- with AFP