Man pleads guilty to theft of solid gold toilet worth $6 million from Blenheim Palace

An individual has entered a guilty plea to the charge of stealing a toilet that was totally crafted from 18-carat gold and was valued at more than $6 million. The toilet was taken from the English stately home where Winston Churchill was born during the war. According to the United Kingdom’s PA Media news agency, which cited the Crown Prosecution Service, James Sheen, who is 39 years old, entered a guilty plea to the charges of burglary, converting or transferring criminal goods, and conspiracy to commit the same offenses at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday.

In 2019, the fully operational toilet was installed at Blenheim Palace as a part of an exhibition titled “Victory is Not an Option,” which was curated by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. In September of that year, just a few days after the exhibition had opened, the peculiar piece of artwork, which was titled “America,” was taken. Therefore, the theft also resulted in substantial damage and flooding, according to the police record that was filed at the time. It had been piped into the structure.

Sheen made his appearance in court by a video link from Five Wells Prison, where he is currently serving a term of seventeen years for a variety of thefts. As part of his sentence, he is serving time for a number of offenses, including the theft of tractors and high-value trophies from the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket, which are estimated to be worth a combined $400,000.

In the year 2016, “America” was presented for the very first time at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. It was once again discussed in the media in 2017, when the White House of United States President Donald Trump sent an email to the Guggenheim Museum requesting to borrow the painting “Landscape with Snow” by Vincent Van Gogh, which was completed in 1888. However, the curator of the museum offered the gold toilet instead.

During his time at Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill was born in a room that was adjacent to the one where the toilet was installed. The work may be interpreted as a commentary on the social, political, and economic inequality that exist in the United States, according to a statement that was released to announce the launch of the show. Cattelan had previously stated to the New Yorker, in reference to the work, that “whatever you eat, whether it be a two-hundred-dollar lunch or a two-dollar hot dog, the results are the same, toilet-wise.” In addition to that, he referred to the piece as “1% art for the 99%.”

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