LONDON: Three people have been arrested in connection with the mysterious disappearance of a solid gold toilet worth nearly £5 million (AUD $9.4m), taken from Blenheim Palace last month during a brazen burglary.
The art installation lavatory titled “America” was allegedly taken in an overnight raid at the 18th-century estate, the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
Thames Valley Police announced that three further arrests had been made in connection with the burglary, PA Media reports.
A force spokesman said: “A 35-year-old man, a 34-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman, all from Oxford, were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to commit a burglary other than a dwelling.
“They all remain in police custody.”
A 66-year-old man from Evesham was previously arrested on suspicion of burglary, along with a 35-year-old man from Cheltenham who was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle.
Police were called to reports of a burglary at Winston Churchill’s birthplace at Woodstock, Oxfordshire, on September 14.
The fully-functioning toilet had been plumbed in for visitors to use in a wood-panelled room.
The palace was temporarily closed with the palace suffering “significant damage and flooding”.
Created by Italian contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan, the work was previously shown at the Guggenheim museum in New York in 2016, where visitors queued for hours for the chance to take a seat on the extravagant installation.
Cattelan, 58, denied having any role in the theft of the toilet, however, telling the New York Times: “I wish it was a prank.”
He said: “Who’s so stupid to steal a toilet?
“America was the 1% for the 99%, and I hope it still is. I want to be positive and think the robbery is a kind of Robin Hood-inspired action.”