Buckingham Palace catering assistant Adam Canto has admitted to stealing items from Queen Elizabeth II and selling them on eBay.
The 37-year-old pleaded guilty to three counts of theft between November 2019 and August 2020 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the BBC reported on Monday. The British staffer stole a “significant quantity” of items, which were discovered by police at his quarters located in the palace’s Royal Mews.
According to the outlet, about 77 items were taken from the palace shop, while others were stolen from staff lockers and Prince Andrew’s storeroom.
In addition, Canto admitted to stealing a Companion of Bath medal belonging to the Master of the Household, Vice Admiral Master Tony Johnstone-Burt, and a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order medal from the locker of former British Army officer Maj Gen Richard Sykes, which was given to him by Elizabeth, 94, in 2010.
In a statement, Johnstone-Burt said he first realized his medal was missing when he wanted to wear it for Elizabeth’s Trooping the Colour. He was later told by staff that the stolen items were for sale online.
Prosecutor Simon Maughan told the court that the stolen goods, totaling between $13,000 and $135,000, were listed for sale on eBay. However, a total of 37 items were sold on the auction site for “well under” their value. Canto earned $10,000 from the sales.
The outlet noted that Canto took advantage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic when he gained more access to offices and other rooms he normally didn’t frequent.
District Judge Alexander Jacobs released Canto on conditional bail but was warned he faced a possible jail sentence. Canto will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court at a later date.
Royal staffers faced being laid off this summer due to the pandemic as many of the British royal family’s palaces and castles remained closed, People magazine reported on Monday.
The outlet shared that the staff is employed by the Royal Collection Trust, the charity that runs the opening of the palaces and its accompanying stores. The Trust’s income comes almost entirely from visitors through ticket and gift shop sales.
With the palaces closed due to COVID-19, it is estimated that “tens of millions have been wiped off the expected earnings” for 2020
Elizabeth has not been back at her London residence since March. She’s been spending her time with husband Prince Philip, 99, at Windsor Castle, Sandringham estate and Balmoral Castle in Scotland.