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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mark Lugo, Picasso Thief, Is Guilty of Stealing "Tête de Femme" Sketch from Local Gallery

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 5:10 PM

This would have made for a great Picasso sketch
  • This would have made for a great Picasso sketch

Considering he was caught on tape parading around with a rare Picasso sketch under his arm, it's not that surprising that Mark Lugo pled guilty today to charges of stealing a $275,000 Picasso sketch from a local gallery.

SF Weekly
readers might recall the audacious Lugo, a New Jersey resident, who walked into the Weinstein Gallery in Union Square on July 5, grabbed the 1965 Picasso pencil drawing, wrapped it up in a newspaper, and walked out.

The gallery director wrote down the taxi's license plate number, which SFPD used to track Lugo to the Palomar Hotel, where he was also recorded on security cameras with the drawing, titled Tête de Femme, under his arm. Lugo had been seen carrying the sketch via video surveillance outside Lefty O'Doul's restaurant in San Francisco right after the theft.

Lugo was arrested a day later in Napa, and a subsequent search of his New Jersey apartment showed numerous other stole artwork -- including a Picasso painting worth $500,000 which was taken from a Manhattan gallery.

Lugo faces up to 16 months in prison. He will be sentenced on Nov. 21, according to the District Attorney's Office. After that, he'll be released on supervised probation and extradited to New York, where he'll face charges from the Manhattan district attorney.

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Ellen Huet

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