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Solid gold toilet worth $1M named ‘America’ stolen from Winston Churchill’s birthplace

Police are on the hunt for a solid gold toilet valued at over $1 million that was stolen overnight on Saturday at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England, causing damage and flooding at the birthplace and ancestral home of Winston Churchill.

“The piece of art that has been stolen is a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace,” Thames Valley Inspector Jess Milne told USA Today. “Due to the toilet being plumbed into the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding.”

Police say a 66-year old man was arrested in connection with the theft, however, the 18-karat-gold toilet titled “America” remains missing. Milne said he believes the thieves used at least two vehicles to make off with the golden score.
“The artwork has not been recovered at this time but we are conducting a thorough investigation to find it and bring those responsible to justice,” Milne said.

The golden john actually performs its necessary bathroom functions and was part of an exhibit by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled “Victory is Not an Option” that opened at Blenheim Palace last Thursday. It had been built in a wood chamber opposite the room in which Churchill was born.

Those visiting Blenheim Palace were normally given three minutes alone with the toilet to take it on a test drive. Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones had described the experience of using the lavatory as “peeing on porcelain.”

The toilet was on display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2016 and was scheduled to be open to the public at Blenheim during a seven-week exhibition from Sept. 12 to Oct. 27.

Before the toilet was installed, Edward Spencer-Churchill, the founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, was confident it wouldn’t be easily stolen.

“Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate,” he told the Times. “So no, I don’t plan to be guarding it.”
Blenheim Palace announced they would be shut down for the rest of Saturday, but it will reportedly be “business as usual” on Sunday. The palace is the main residence of the Dukes of Marlborough and was built in the early 1700s.
We are saddened by this extraordinary event, but also relieved no one was hurt,” Blenheim Palace announced on Twitter following the theft. “We are very grateful to our staff and to Thames Valley Police for their rapid and brave reactions. We knew there was huge interest in the Maurizio Cattelan contemporary art exhibition, with many set to come and enjoy the installations.”
Anyone with more information is urged to contact the Thames Valley Police.

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