Thursday, July 07, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, Picasso Drawing Recovered, Man Arrested !!

N.J. man held in Picasso theft; artwork found

A New Jersey man has been arrested in connection with the theft of a Pablo Picasso drawing from a Union Square gallery and the artwork has been recovered, San Francisco police said today.

Mark Lugo, 31, of Hoboken, N.J., was arrested at a hotel in Napa at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

Investigators recovered the artwork, minus its frame, in a room at the hotel, police said.

Police believe Lugo was working alone and had planned to ship the artwork, which the gallery was selling for more than $200,000, to an unknown party, the chief said.

The theft of Picasso's 1965 pencil drawing "TĂȘte de Femme (Head of a Woman)" was reported at 11:41 a.m. Tuesday by the Weinstein Gallery at 383 Geary St.

A short time later, a restaurant's surveillance camera filmed a man walking along Geary with a framed artwork covered by a newspaper. The video can be seen at

Police said the man pictured in the video is Lugo.

Police said Lugo got away by hopping into a cab that took him to the Hotel Palomar near Fourth and Market streets in San Francisco, where he had been staying.

Lugo does not appear to have any criminal history besides a minor alcohol-related arrest, police said. He had arrived in San Francisco on the Fourth of July, authorities said.

He was booked on suspicion of burglary, theft, possession of stolen property and drug possession. His bail was set at $5 million.

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