US News: What Happened to the Stolen Gold Toilet? - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News What Happened to the Stolen Gold Toilet?

11:40  21 november  2019
11:40  21 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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WOODSTOCK, England — Just before 5 a.m. on Sept. 14, a fully-functioning toilet made of 18-karat gold was stolen from an art exhibition at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. There has been no trace of it since.

An 18-carat solid gold toilet has been stolen in a burglary overnight at Blenheim Palace. A gang broke into the Oxfordshire palace at about 04:50 Image copyright John Lawrence. Image caption Blenheim Palace is currently closed to the public while police investigate. Visitors to the exhibition were free to

The piece by Maurizio Cattelan was at Blenheim Palace, in southern England, for a retrospective of the artist’s work. The police said that six people had been arrested in connection with the theft but later released without charge. © Leon Neal/Getty Images The piece by Maurizio Cattelan was at Blenheim Palace, in southern England, for a retrospective of the artist’s work. The police said that six people had been arrested in connection with the theft but later released without charge.

WOODSTOCK, England — Just before 5 a.m. on Sept. 14, a fully-functioning toilet made of 18-karat gold was stolen from an art exhibition at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

There has been no trace of it since.

The police are still looking for the missing john — an artwork called “America” by Maurizio Cattelan — but, so far, they remain empty-handed. A spokesman for the force carrying out the investigation, Thames Valley Police, declined to discuss the case, except to confirm that six people had been arrested in connection with the theft, only to be released later without charge.

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Solid gold toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill. Detective Inspector Jess Milne said in the statement: "Due to the toilet being plumbed in to the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding," adding, "We believe a group offenders used at least two vehicles

Lavatory valued at £1m taken from Winston Churchill’s birthplace just before 5am on Saturday.

The police may not know what has happened to the toilet, but residents of Woodstock, a town near the palace, have plenty of theories.

  What Happened to the Stolen Gold Toilet? © Getty

Richard Jackson, a gardener, said he thought it was still on the palace grounds. The robbers probably threw it off a bridge into one of two lakes on the property, he said.

“It ain’t going to rust, is it?” he added. “You could wait a year, then get it out.”

“It’s on a building site,” said Susan Hughes, a taxi driver, “that’s my theory.” New homes are being built near the palace, she noted. “And there are diggers, dumpers, everything, there.” The robbers could have made a hole for the toilet then “covered it the same night,” she added.

Martin Thomas-Jeffreys, an antiques dealer, said he was sure those theories were wrong. The toilet would have been melted down, he said. By some estimates, the gold could be worth $4 million. “Whoever did it, definitely planned it,” he said. “It’s not like slipping a tiara in your pocket, is it?”

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THIEVES have stolen a solid gold toilet in a 5am raid at Blenheim Palace today. “Due to the toilet being plumbed in to the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding. “We believe a group offenders used at least two vehicles during the offence.

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

a group of people standing in front of Blenheim Palace: Blenheim Palace. Some visitors have not given up hope of the artwork’s return. “If you do find it, I live in a caravan that could do with a new toilet,” said Kevin Power, a musician. © Andrew Testa for The New York Times Blenheim Palace. Some visitors have not given up hope of the artwork’s return. “If you do find it, I live in a caravan that could do with a new toilet,” said Kevin Power, a musician.

Nobody had offered a gold toilet to his store, he added.

Others guessed that it had been flown out of Britain from a small airport about two miles away. Some even suggested that it hadn’t been stolen at all and that maybe Mr. Cattelan had hidden it himself, hoping to get a promotional boost from a Banksy-style prank.

“It’s a hoax,” said Jackie Blake, 72, a retiree. Mr. Cattelan had “probably got it sitting somewhere to see what the reaction of us people is.”

One thing that linked the theories, said Christine Johnson, a school worker, was that nobody was taking the crime seriously. “Quite honestly, people think it’s a joke,” she said. There were even a few spray-painted imitations round the town, she added.

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The golden loo is gone. A solid 18-karat gold toilet , titled “America” by its creator, Maurizio Cattelan, was stolen early Saturday from an exhibit at Blenheim Palace, the Oxfordshire birthplace and family home of Winston Churchill.

Media captionSolid gold toilet stolen in Blenheim Palace heist. Image caption Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan says he hopes the theft is a "kind of Robin Hood-inspired action". In an email to the New York Times, Cattelan said: "'America' was the 1% for the 99%, and I hope it still is.

a room that has a clock on a table: A gold toilet — spray-painted in imitation of the original — in a fish and chip shop in Woodstock, England. © Andrew Testa for The New York Times A gold toilet — spray-painted in imitation of the original — in a fish and chip shop in Woodstock, England. One of those was in Off The Hook, a fish and chip shop. Another had been in the bar of The Woodstock Arms, a local pub, until some merry patrons stole that one, too, said Ross Phillips, the pub’s manager.

Mr. Phillips said he had decided to make the replica toilet — which cost around $60 — to tease one of his customers, who worked at the palace. “My son really enjoyed painting it,” Mr. Phillips said. “My wife thought it was a ridiculous idea.”

Until Sept. 14, “America” had been installed in a wood-paneled closet just outside the bedroom where Churchill was born. Visitors could pay to use the facilities, as museumgoers in New York had been allowed to when it was on show at the Guggenheim in 2016-17.

The night before the robbery, a party for Mr. Cattelan’s show was held at the palace; the event ended at around 2 a.m. A couple of hours later, thieves broke in and ripped out the toilet, causing a minor flood. In an appeal for witnesses in October, the police said that they were looking for at least two vehicles that may have been used in the getaway.

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Media captionSolid gold toilet stolen in Blenheim Palace heist. Three more people have been arrested by police trying to track down a stolen solid gold toilet . The latest three to be arrested remain in police custody. Image copyright John Lawrence. Image caption Blenheim Palace was home to the

Media captionThe solid gold toilet was stolen during a heist on 14 September. A £100,000 reward is being offered for the safe return of a solid gold toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace. Image copyright John Lawrence. Image caption Blenheim Palace was home to the 18-carat artwork.

Thefts from stately homes have been increasing lately, said James Ratcliffe, the director of recoveries at the Art Loss Register, a nonprofit organization that runs a database of stolen art.

On Sept. 8, the week before the gold toilet was stolen, four thieves broke into Sudeley Castle, about 30 miles from Blenheim Palace, taking items including a Fabergé gold cigarette case and jewelry that King Edward VII gave to a mistress.

Mr. Ratcliffe pointed out that thieves who steal sculptures often want the materials, not the work of art itself. In the 2000s, he said, several large bronze sculptures, including works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, were stolen from parks and gardens in Britain and melted down.

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. © Getty Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

“I very much doubt anyone’s stolen this because it’s art,” said Richard Ellis, former head of the Metropolitan Police’s art and antiques squad who is now a consultant on art theft, referring to Mr. Cattelan’s work. Rather, he said, “It’s because it was a big lump of gold.”

It would have been melted down within 24 hours, Mr. Ellis added.

In an email, Mr. Cattelan said that he had no idea who was behind the crime. Referencing the board game Clue, he joked that “the major suspects” should be “the butler, the chef and the house owner.”

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Media captionThe 18-carat golden toilet was previously displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Blenheim Palace's security measures "need to be challenged" after an 18-carat gold toilet was stolen from the stately home In an email to The New York Times he wrote: "I wish it was a prank."

Burglars stole an 18-karat gold working toilet Saturday at Britain's Blenheim Palace, the birthplace and ancestral home of Winston Churchill. He said the theft caused "significant damage and flooding" because the toilet had been connected to the palace plumbing system.

“But none of these is true,” he added.

a group of people standing in front of a store: The Woodstock Arms pub. A replica gold toilet which had been displayed in the bar as a joke has also been stolen, the pub’s manager said. © Andrew Testa for The New York Times The Woodstock Arms pub. A replica gold toilet which had been displayed in the bar as a joke has also been stolen, the pub’s manager said.

Mr. Cattelan also said that he was not behind the work’s disappearance, despite having pulled similar pranks before. In 1996, he stole the contents of an art gallery in the Netherlands, then presented them as his own work. “It was meant to be a comment on displacement,” he said at the time, adding, “We took everything including the garbage cans.”

Mr. Cattelan said he did not expect to get the toilet back. But the piece exhibited at Blenheim was just one of three he made, so there were two more available, he said.

Since the theft, Mr. Cattelan has been taking advantage of the crime’s notoriety. In November, he appeared in an advertising campaign for Generali, an Italian insurance company looking to make inroads in the art world. In a video, Mr. Cattelan cavorts with a cutout of a gold toilet under the slogan “Great artists steal.”

At Blenheim Palace in October, on one of the final days of Mr. Cattelan’s exhibition, not everyone had given up hope of the toilet’s return. “If you do find it, I live in a caravan that could do with a new toilet,” said Kevin Power, a musician.

Laura Ahlbin said she was glad it was gone. She was American but lived locally, she said, and had found the artwork so disrespectful both to her birthplace and to that of Winston Churchill that she had decided to stay away from the palace, which she usually visits regularly. “When I heard the news, I thought, ‘Oh good, I can go back,’” she said.

But most of the visitors expressed simple amusement, or bemusement, about the crime as they looked at the blue police tape across the damaged wooden door that once led to the toilet.

Lacey Chandler, 9, visiting the exhibition with her father, summed up the feelings of many. “Why would someone steal a gold toilet?” she said. “Someone’s bum’s been on that.”

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