It’s the second graffiti-related disaster that the Australian city has suffered. Earlier this year, Melbourne officials accidentally painted over another Banksy piece, also a stencil of a rat.
The meter box from which the latest work was stolen is outside the home of underwear designer Mitch Dowd.
“The house faces right onto the pavement so everyone would walk by and see it all the time and now all that’s there is a black box,” Dowd said in a statement.
“It’s a well known rat carrying a suitcase that’s about eight inches high. It’s black on a red background and it’s been there for over a year. It’s sad that as soon as the articles on Banksy came out that people would think it was valuable.”