$1.25 million toilet stolen from Winston Churchill's birthplace

/ CBS/AP

London — Thieves have stolen a solid gold toilet worth up to $1.25 million from the birthplace of British wartime leader Winston Churchill. The toilet, the work of Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan, had been installed only two days earlier at Blenheim Palace, west of London, after previously being shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Police said the toilet was taken early Saturday by thieves who used at least two vehicles. Because the golden toilet had been connected to the palace's plumbing system, police said its removal caused "significant damage and flooding" to the building, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This September 16, 2016 file image shows the 18-karat toilet, titled "America," by Maurizio Cattelan in the restroom of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. AP

A 66-year-old man was arrested, but the toilet was not recovered. Prior to the theft, visitors to the Cattelan exhibition could book a three-minute appointment to use the toilet.

First published on September 14, 2019 / 11:42 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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