An 18-carat-solid gold toilet was stolen overnight at England’s Blenheim Palace, the Oxfordshire birthplace of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Thames Valley Police confirmed in a statement that a gang broke in overnight on Saturday, stole the $1.8 million lavatory on display, and left the scene 04:50 BST or 07:50 GST.
Detective Inspector Jess Milne believes that the thieves used at least two vehicles during the offense and caused “significant damage and flooding” as it is plumbed into the water system.
Available for visitors to use for a three-minute time limit, the fully functioning toilet, titled America, is part of the art exhibition by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan.
“The artwork has not been recovered at this time but we are conducting a thorough investigation to find it and bring those responsible to justice,” Milne added.
A cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace also made an official announcement on Twitter was stolen following the incident.
“It’s therefore a great shame an item so precious has been taken, but we still have so many fascinating treasures in the Palace and the remaining items of the exhibition to share,” the palace revealed in a tweet.
The expensive artwork first drew crowds when it was displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2016. On September 12, it was brought into Blenheim Palace, which was completed in 1722 and is now the residence of England's 12th Duke of Marlborough, James Spencer-Churchill.
In 2017, the toilet was famously known to have been offered to US President Donald Trump instead of Van Gogh's Landscape With Snow, which he requested for the White House.
Last month, the Duke of Marlborough's half-brother, Edward Spencer-Churchill, dismissed security concerns and said the expensive artwork was “not going to be the easiest thing to nick” ahead of its installation.
The place said in a tweet that it will be was closed on the day of the burglary. However, it was open to the public the following day and Cattelan’s first solo exhibition in 20 years is expected to run through October 27.
The million-dollar toilet still remains missing but a full investigation is being conducted. A 66-year-old man has reportedly been arrested in connection with the burglary and is in police custody