LONDON: A gang of thieves on Saturday (Sep 14) stole a fully functional 18-carat gold toilet from Britain's Blenheim Palace, where it had been installed as an art exhibit, police said.
The toilet, valued at more than US$5 million, was part of an exhibition of work by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan. It opened two days ago at the 18th-century stately home in Oxfordshire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Named "America", the toilet was once displayed at New York's Guggenheim museum and offered on loan to US President Donald Trump.
A 66-year-old man has been arrested over the theft.
"The offenders broke into the palace overnight and left the scene at about 4.50am. No-one was injured during the burglary," local police said.
Detective Inspector Jess Milne said: "The piece of art that has been stolen is a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace.
"Due to the toilet being plumbed into the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding.
"We believe a group of offenders used at least two vehicles during the offence.
"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."
Blenheim Palace said it was saddened by the loss of the "precious" artwork, and that the rest of the exhibition would reopen on Sunday.
The palace is home to the 12th duke of Marlborough and his family, and was also the birthplace of British wartime leader Winston Churchill.