Adamo Canto was working as a catering assistant at Buckingham Palace before COVID-19 tweaked the nature of his role. The 37-year-old quickly became responsible for increased cleaning palace-wide, meaning he was granted access to many of the building’s previously unreachable nooks and crannies.
The catering assistant was clearly quick to seize this opportunity and, with it, a plethora of valuable royal items.
While performing his duties, the ex-worker managed to grab signed photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.
These were in addition to another approximately 77 items from the palace shop, staff lockers, Queen’s gallery shop and the Duke of York’s storeroom.
Notably, Canto took two medals belonging to the Master of the Household and the former British Army officer Maj Gen Richard Sykes. The former lost a Companion of Bath medal and the latter lost a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order medal.
But Canto was not planning on perusing the photos or donning the medals himself.
Prosecutor Simon Maughan revealed that 37 of the thief’s goods, estimated to be between £10,000 and £100,000 in value (roughly $18,000 to $180,000 in Australian dollars), were listed for sale on eBay.
A significant stolen item that made an appearance on the site included a royal state banquet photo album; featuring photos of the soon-to-be-former US President Donald Trump’s trip the U.K, the album was estimated to be worth £1,500 (around $2700 AUD).
After placing the Master of the Household’s Companion of Bath medal online, the precious item sold for £350 (approx. $630 AUD). It was only when Vice Admiral Master Tony Johnstone-Burt went to don the medal for the Queen’s Trooping the Colour that the senior aide was informed of the medal’s fate.
The BBC reported that, “District Judge Alexander Jacobs released Canto on conditional bail and warned he faced a possible jail sentence.”
It looks as though any potential sticky-fingered Queen's helpers will think twice before raiding the palace.