4 men charged in theft of satirical golden toilet titled ‘America,’ at Churchill’s birthplace

Four men were charged Monday over the theft of an 18-carat gold toilet from Blenheim Palace, where British wartime leader Winston Churchill was born.

LONDON — Four men were charged Monday over the theft of an 18-carat gold toilet from Blenheim Palace, the sprawling English country mansion where British wartime leader Winston Churchill was born.

The toilet, valued at 4.8 million pounds ($5.95 million), was an artwork titled “America” and intended as a pointed satire about excessive wealth by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan. It was part of an art installation at Blenheim Palace, near the city of Oxford, a few days before it vanished overnight in September 2019.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Monday it has authorized criminal charges against four men, ages 35-39, over the theft. They are accused of burglary and conspiracy to transfer criminal property.

Seven people had been arrested over the heist, but no charges have been brought until Monday, four years after the toilet was stolen. The artwork has never been found.

The golden toilet was fully functioning, and prior to the theft, visitors to the exhibition could book a three-minute appointment to use it. Police said that because the toilet had been connected to the palace’s plumbing system, its removal caused “significant damage and flooding” to the 18th-century building, a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with valuable art and furniture that draws thousands of visitors each year.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/4-men-charged-theft-satirical-golden-toilet-titled-america-churchills-rcna123957


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