Art Thief Mark Lugo Pleads Guilty to Art Theft in New York

02/08/2012 3:20 PM |

Mark Lugo wasnt nearly this sneaky.

  • Mark Lugo wasn’t nearly this sneaky.

While we await its big screen (or HBO) adaptation, we’ve been following the saga of coast-to-coast art thief and former Manhattan sommelier Mark Lugo, who was first caught for swiping a Picasso drawing from a San Francisco gallery last July and was subsequently discovered to be keeping a world-class collection of stolen artworks in his Hoboken apartment. Though he initially pleaded not guilty to several charges in a Manhattan court in December, he’s come around and yesterday pleaded guilty to stealing a Fernand Léger from a gallery at the Carlyle Hotel last June.

Lugo pleaded guilty to grand larceny in a Manhattan State Supreme Court yesterday, AP reports, after admitting that he stole a drawing by French modernist Fernand Léger from a gallery in the lobby of the Upper East Side’s Carlyle Hotel. The drawing in question, “Composition With Mechanical Elements,” was valued at approximately $350,000, though Lugo had no apparent plans to sell that or any of the artworks he stole.

The 31-year-old clandestine collector is set to be sentenced on February 28, and faces anywhere from one to three years in prison. But his lawyer, James Montgomery, is hopeful that his client could be released in less than a year.

Lugo is coming off serving a 138-day prison sentence in California, where he was first busted for stealing a Picasso. After facing charges in New York he’ll also have to appear in court in his home state of New Jersey, where he stands accused of nabbing $6,000 worth of wine.

Once Lugo’s done serving his time, he’d make a great spokesperson for virtual art-collecting social network whatsit Just putting it out there.


Follow Benjamin Sutton on Twitter @LMagArt