Blenheim Palace gold toilet theft: Second man arrested

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Media captionSolid gold toilet stolen in Blenheim Palace heist

A second man has been arrested as police continue to hunt for a solid gold toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace.

The artwork, valued at $6m (£4.8m), was stolen in a raid at the stately home in Woodstock, Oxfordshire on Saturday.

Police said the 36-year-old man, from Cheltenham, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle and had been released under investigation.

A 66-year-old man was previously arrested on the same day as the theft.

He was held on suspicion of burglary and released on bail until October.

The 18-carat gold toilet, entitled America, had been part of an exhibition by Maurizio Cattelan and was available to be used by visitors to the home of the Duke of Marlborough.

Blenheim’s chief executive Dominic Hare said the theft had echoes of a “heist movie” and added it was the “first theft of this type in living memory” from the palace.

Mr Hare said the World Heritage Site had a “a sophisticated security system”, but said staff were “now challenged to look hard at ourselves and improve again”.

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John Lawrence

Image caption

Blenheim’s chief executive Dominic Hare said the theft had echoes of a “heist movie”

Det Insp Steve Jones said the force’s priority was “to locate the stolen item” as he appealed for anyone with information to contact officers.

Police said on Monday they believed a gang of thieves using at least two vehicles were responsible for the theft.

Blenheim Palace was shut on Saturday after the burglary but reopened on Sunday.

Mr Hare said the artwork – famously offered to US President Donald Trump in 2017 – was a “comment on the American dream”.

He added it was “not out of the question [the toilet] would be melted down” by the thieves.

In an email to the New York Times, Cattelan said he wanted “to be positive and think the robbery is a kind of Robin Hood-inspired action”.

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