Lock Up Your Marie-Thérèses, SF Picasso Thief is Back in New York

11/23/2011 8:58 AM |

This is the logo for an actual computer game where you steal art.

Remember Mark Lugo, the Hoboken resident and former somelier at high-end Manhattan eateries who, on July 5th, wandered into a San Francisco gallery, tucked a Picasso drawing worth roughly $200,000 under his arm, and walked out, only to be nabbed the following day as he prepared to ship the lifted masterwork to an undisclosed location? Yeah, well, he’s done his time in Cali, and now New York authorities are bringing him here to face similar charges for the many stolen goods found in his apartment.

First up, the San Francisco Examiner checks in with Rowland Weinstein, owner of Weinstein Gallery, where Lugo stole the Picasso, to find that the theft has caused the value of the small pencil drawing “Tête de Femme (Head of a Woman)” (1965) to increase significantly, but that it has also caused a dramatic increase in foot traffic at the gallery. For this reason, Weinstein says, he won’t sell the Picasso drawing.

“Every single solitary day, at least 10 people come into the gallery asking where the Picasso is,” the gallery president said. [...] Weinstein acquired the sketch in May for $122,500. He planned to sell it for $275,000. Since the heist, one bidder has offered $375,000, Weinstein said.

All’s well that ends well for Weinstein. Not so for Lugo.

His 138-day sentence in California for the Picasso theft completed, the AP reported yesterday that he’s due to be transferred to the custody of New York authorities and brought here “to face charges of lifting artwork and fine wines, his lawyer Douglas Horngrad said.”

The week before the San Fran Picasso theft Lugo took another drawing by the Modern master from William Bennett Gallery in Soho. According to the San Francisco district attorney, the loot recovered during a July raid of Lugo’s apartment in Hoboken included “another Picasso painting worth $30,000, a Fernand Leger sketch valued at $350,000, and three bottles of Chateau Petrus Pomerol wine worth $6,000.”

And after serving time in New York, Lugo will also have to reckon with charges in his home state of New Jersey over the theft in April of wine bottles totaling roughly $6,000. All Lugo’s jail time will add up to a very long blue period.

(ArtInfo)