Men charged over theft of A$9m gold toilet from English palace

They thought they would be flush with cash, but they were caught with their pants down instead.

They thought they would be flush with cash, but they were caught with their pants down instead.

Four men have been charged over the theft of an 18-karat golden toilet from Blenheim Palace in southern England, which was stolen in an early morning heist in 2019, prosecutors said last Monday.

The men, aged between 35 and 39, who are to appear in court in Oxford, have all been charged with various burglary offences by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

James Sheen, 39, appears to be the ringleader, given he faces the most charges from burglary, to conspiracy to transfer criminal property and a further charge of transferring criminal property.

Valued at £4.8 million (around A$9 million), the precious metal privy was originally installed in 2019 as part of an exhibition titled Victory is Not an Option at the famous palace, which is a major tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Blenheim Palace is also the home of the Dukes of Malborough and birthplace of former British prime minister and wartime leader, Winston Churchill, so a gold-plated toilet seems highly appropriate.

Created by Italian conceptual artist, Maurizio Cattelan, the solid gold toilet, titled America, satirises the ever-increasing divide between the wealthy and the poor in the U.S. The fully functioning toilet was designed as an interactive work, which attracted over one hundred thousand visitors at the time, who were able to book timeslots for up to three minutes in an opportunity to commune with art and nature.

British police at the time said thieves broke into Blenheim Palace during closing time and ripped the toilet from its plumbing, causing, “significant damage and flooding.”

The four men will appear in court on November 28.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.


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