3 more arrests made in theft of solid gold toilet
Police investigating the theft of a solid gold toilet from a stately home in the UK made three arrests Wednesday.
“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,” Thames Valley Police said in a statement. All three remain in police custody.
The fully functioning toilet is a piece of art made entirely from 18-karat gold that was installed in Blenheim Palace, England, as part of an exhibition by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.
Police have been investigating its theft since Sept. 14 and previously made two arrests.
A 66-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of burglary before being released on bail, and a 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle and was released under investigation.
In early October, police released CCTV images of a vehicle they believe was involved in the theft at the palace, which is open to tourists.
And details of a reward of up to £100,000 ($124,000) for the return of the artwork were released.
Philip Austin from Fine Art Specie Adjusters (FASA), the palace’s insurance company, told CNN that a reward of up to £100,000 would be paid if specific conditions were met.
First, the item must be safely returned; second, there must have been an arrest as part of the investigation.
“We have to be very careful that we don’t pay the villains,” he said.
Back in August, in an interview with the UK’s Times newspaper, Edward Spencer-Churchill, the current Duke of Marlborough’s half-brother and founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, dismissed the possibility that the toilet could be stolen.
“It’s not going to be the easiest thing to nick,” Spencer-Churchill said. “Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate. So no, I don’t plan to be guarding it.”