Art Market

A second suspect was arrested over the theft of Maurizio Cattelan’s gold toilet.

Wallace Ludel
Sep 18, 2019 5:33PM, via BBC

Installation view of America (2016) by Maurizio Cattelan at Blenheim Palace. Photo by Tom Lindboe, courtesy of Blenheim Art Foundation.

A second suspect has been arrested in the hunt for the thieves who stole the solid gold toilet from Blenheim Palace on Saturday. The fully-functioning toilet, a sculpture titled America (2016), is part of a large show of works by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan taking place at Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Winston Churchill. A 66-year-old man was arrested the day of the theft and has since been released on bail. Now a 36-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the heist and released under investigation. The toilet itself has yet to be recovered.

In a statement provided to Artsy on Monday, Detective Inspector Jess Milne said:

We are still actively searching for the stolen piece of artwork and there will be a continued police presence in and around the palace while this search continues. We believe a group of people used at least two vehicles during the burglary, which was reported to Thames Valley Police at 4:57 a.m. on Saturday.

Blenheim's chief executive Dominic Hare told the BBC that this was the "first theft of this type in living memory" from the palace. The New York Timesconsulted a precious metals dealer who noted that, based on the weight of the work and the current value of gold, America could be melted down in a matter of days, leaving the thieves with untraceable gold bars worth upwards of $4 million. Investigative officer Steven Jones said in a statement that “our priority is to locate the stolen item.”

Wallace Ludel