Four men were charged on Monday November 7 for the theft four years ago of a solid gold toilet by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan at Blenheim Palace, an imposing castle in the south of England listed as a World Heritage Site. Unesco. Named “America”, the 18-carat gold work including seat, bowl and operational flush was valued at 4.8 million pounds (5.5 million euros).
It was the flagship piece of the exhibition dedicated in September 2019 to the iconoclast Maurizio Cattelan in this 18th century baroque palace, located in Oxfordshire and where Winston Churchill was born. Announcing the charges on Monday, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the four men will appear in court on November 28.
James Sheen, 39, was charged with theft, conspiracy to move stolen property and transfer of stolen property. Michael Jones, 38, was charged with theft, while Fred Doe, 35, and Bora Guccuk, 39, were both charged with conspiring to move stolen property.
The day after the theft, the police explained that the thieves had entered the palace during the night of September 13 to 14 and left the premises in the early morning, with the precious toilet, causing significant damage and flooding. The “America” toilets were first exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where they were used by some 100,000 people between September 2016 and the summer of 2017.