Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral, which was damaged by fire last year and has since been the focus of restoration efforts as part of a five-year reconstruction plan, was reportedly targeted by two thieves amid the introduction of coronavirus lockdown measures in the city.
According to a report by Le Parisien, two men face charges for allegedly attempting to steal various stones from the cathedral after the government ordered a pause on reconstruction so as to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. A spokesperson for Notre-Dame told the publication that the thieves likely intended to sell the stones on the black market.
The men were taken into custody after guards at Notre-Dame spotted them on the premises.
Coronavirus-related restrictions in Paris have also prevented the removal of melted scaffolding on the cathedral’s roof, which was set to come down on March 23. Le Parisien states that this phase of restoration is critical for salvaging the structure.
Other attractions and institutions around the French capital were impacted by the coronavirus outbreak earlier this month. Major French museums that have shuttered include the Louvre, the Musée Delacroix, the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de l’Orangerie, and the Palais de Tokyo.
It was announced last week that ARTnews Top 200 collector and billionaire François Pinault’s new private museum in Paris, located in the a former stock exchange known as the Bourse de Commerce, would postpone its opening until September.