UPDATE 4:34 p.m.: Gallery manager talks about the theft and provides details of stolen piece. Read more after jump.
San Francisco could have another Terry Helbing on its hands.
Police are saying that at about 11:41 a.m., a man walked into the Weinstein Gallery on Geary Street this morning, nonchalantly took a piece of art off the wall, wrapped it up, and walked out with it in what police are calling a brazen daytime theft.
"I don't know if employees were just busy, but he literally walked in, grabbed it, and walked out and got into a cab," said Officer Albie Esparza.
The artwork, which could have been a Picasso, was a sketch worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, Esparza told SF Weekly. We contacted the gallery, but employees said they were still dealing with the theft and were not ready to comment on specifics.
However, Esparza said this was a piece of art that "you can't just walk down to Seventh and Market streets and sell."
"I don't know what the dimensions are, but anyone who knows art knows it's a high-priced ticket item and we hope they will call the police immediately," Esparza said, admitting he is no art aficionadof. But what he does know is that "this isn't something you can just sell to any art dealer or on eBay."
Witnesses who saw the thief described him as a white man in large dark glasses, roughly 6 feet tall, wearing a dark jacket, white shirt, and dark pants. He wore loafers with no socks.
Update: Kendy Genovese, managing director of the art gallery, told SF Weekly that the stolen piece was a 1965 Picasso pencil drawing titled Tete de Femme. The piece was roughly 10 inches by eight inches.
Gallery directors are still trying to figure out how the man slipped past them with the prized piece of art.
"Boy, I wish I knew. Yeah, we had a breach in security today, and we are going to look at it very seriously," Genovese said.
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