Police arrest second man in connection with theft of £4million golden toilet in Blenheim Palace robbery

  • 18-carat gold toilet was installed as part of exhibition by Maurizio Cattelan 
  • It was plumbed into New York's Guggenheim Museum and 100k queued to use it
  • Stolen just after being unveiled as part of exhibition at Blenheim Palace 
  • Police have arrested a 36-year-old man from Cheltenham and 66-year-old  

Police have arrested a second man over the theft of a £4million gold toilet at Blenheim Palace.

The 18-carat gold toilet was unveiled at the stately home in Oxfordshire as part of an exhibition by controversial Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan on Friday.

But it was ripped from the bathroom and stolen by thieves in the early hours of Saturday. 

Police later arrested a 66-year-old man, but have today announced they have arrested a second, aged 36, and from Cheltenham, in connection with the case.   

Before: The 18-carat gold toilet was unveiled at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, as part of an exhibition by controversial Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan on Friday

Before: The 18-carat gold toilet was unveiled at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, as part of an exhibition by controversial Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan on Friday

After: The bathroom at Blenheim Palace is pictured in tatters after thieves stole the golden toilet over the weekend

After: The bathroom at Blenheim Palace is pictured in tatters after thieves stole the golden toilet over the weekend 

Both men have been released under investigation.    

Investigating officer, Detective Inspector Steven Jones, said: 'We are continuing to investigate this incident and have made a second arrest in connection with it.

Cattelan, a serial prankster, has denied arranging the theft in attempt to drum up publicity

Cattelan, a serial prankster, has denied arranging the theft in attempt to drum up publicity

'Our priority is to locate the stolen item, and I would urge anyone with any information to contact police by calling 101.

'Anyone with information should quote reference number URN 273 (14/9).' 

The same fully-functioning gold toilet, entitled 'America', was plumbed in at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2016, with 100,000 people queuing to use it. 

It was one of many provocative installations moved to Blenheim, known for being the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, for Cattelan's first solo UK show in more than 20 years.

The artist, whose other works include a sculpture of Adolf Hitler praying on his knees, has denied taking it himself in a Banksy-style prank.

He said: 'I wish it was a prank. Who's so stupid to steal a toilet? America was the one per cent for the 99 per cent, and I hope it still is. 

'I want to be positive and think the robbery is a kind of Robin Hood-inspired action.' 

Blenheim Palace is pictured with another of Cattelan's works, a drowning Pinocchio, in the foreground

Blenheim Palace is pictured with another of Cattelan's works, a drowning Pinocchio, in the foreground

Blenheim Palace's chief executive Dominic Hare said he hopes the 'stupid and pointless' act of stealing the toilet will 'immortalise' the work of the artist - as he defended the stately home's 'sophisticated security system' and insisted it was insured. 

He added: 'When you show the finest art to everyone, to the audience it was made for, you take a risk. Almost always that risk is worth taking. We say that even today.

'We hope against hope that we can recover this precious work of art. It is deeply ironic that a work of art portraying the American Dream and the idea of an elite object made available to all should be almost instantly snatched away and hidden from view.' 

Police officers are pictured patrolling a police cordon at Blenheim on Saturday

Police officers are pictured patrolling a police cordon at Blenheim on Saturday 

The bathroom was cordoned off after thieves ripped it from its fittings on Saturday

The bathroom was cordoned off after thieves ripped it from its fittings on Saturday 

Maurizio Cattelan: Artist who lampooned Hitler and the Pope and made 100,000 queue for the toilet 

Pictured: Maurizio Cattelan at Monanie de Paris in 2016

Pictured: Maurizio Cattelan at Monanie de Paris in 2016 

Maurizio Cattelan is one of the most controversial contemporary artists of our time, notorious for his satirical sculptures and provocative installations. 

Now 58 and living and working in New York City, he was born in 1960 in Padua, Italy. 

He began his artistic career in his twenties, making wooden furniture in the Italian city of Forli in the 1980s.

One of his earliest pieces, a sign of things to come, was an ostrich with its head buried in the ground, made to look like Pablo Picasso and taped to a wall of a Milan art gallery. 

He first achieved worldwide notoriety in 1999 when he revealed his work La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour)  a wax statue of Pope John Paul II being struck by a meteorite.   

In 2011 he caused further controversy with 'others' a collection of 2,000 stuffed pigeons, presented at the 54th Venice Biennale art exhibition.

It was in this year that he had a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where all his pieces were suspended from the ceiling. 

After roaring success, five years later in 2015, Cattelan decided to replace one of the toilets in the museum with a fully-functioning replica made of 18-karat gold.

More than 100,000 people queued to use it.  Among his other notable works are 'Him', a wax model of a schoolboy version of Hitler kneeling on the floor in prayer and his many taxidermy pieces, including an entire horse and crocodile suspended upside down from the ceiling.  

Police arrest second man after gold toilet by artist Maurizio Cattelan stolen Blenheim Palace

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