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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mark Lugo, Picasso Thief and Art Lover, Sent to Jail -- Again

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Lugo only takes good art
  • Lugo only takes good art

SF Weekly readers probably haven't forgotten about Mark Lugo, the audacious art aficionado who swiped a rare and pricy Picasso from a San Francisco gallery last year. After spending six months in jail for his crime, he's now facing more time behind bars -- in New York.

According to media reports, Lugo, 31, uttered an "I'm sorry" after a New York judge sentenced him to three years in state prison for snatching a $350,000 drawing by painter Fernand Leger from the lobby of the Manhattan Carlyle Hotel last June.

Lugo had completed his 138 days behind bars here in California in November.

While art thieves typically steal pieces for ransom, Lugo -- a polite and well-spoken restaurant man -- preferred to keep the ripped-off art, which he used to decorate his own apartment in Hoboken, N.J. It was there that investigators found $430,000 worth of stolen art, including the Leger piece, Composition with Mechanical Elements

click to enlarge Prefers stolen art to just art
  • Prefers stolen art to just art
Prefers stolen art to just art
A month after his New York City art binge, Lugo walked into the Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco's Union Square and pulled a 1965 Picasso pencil drawing, titled Tête de Femme, from the wall before jumping into a cab. He was caught on video surveillance and arrested at a Napa hotel that same week.

But Lugo's attorney pointed out that his client had no intention of making money off his rare and stolen collection. It seems Lugo's crimes were committed out of his unstoppable passion ... for art.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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