Napa’s Picasso thief admits New York art thefts

2012-02-07T14:56:00Z 2012-02-07T15:36:48Z Napa’s Picasso thief admits New York art theftsRegister staff Napa Valley Register
February 07, 2012 2:56 pm  • 

A wine steward who plucked artwork off hotel and gallery walls in a bicoastal spree, including a Picasso sketch from an art gallery in San Francisco in July, admitted Tuesday to stealing a $350,000 drawing in New York.

Mark Lugo in July was arrested after investigators tracked him at a friend’s apartment in Napa for stealing the Picasso sketch from the Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco. The sketch was recovered intact in Napa.

In October, Lugo pleaded guilty in San Francisco to grand theft. He finished his 138-day sentence on Nov. 21.

In New York, Lugo admitted he took the pricey sketch by the Cubist painter Fernand Leger from a lobby gallery at Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel on June 28 — one of the New York thefts prosecutors said Lugo accomplished by lifting art off hotel walls and walking off with the works in canvas tote bags, according to Associated Press. Besides the Leger, he was charged with stealing five works by the South Korea-born artist Mie Yim from another hotel on June 14.

New York prosecutors described Lugo, who pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the New York case, as an art-loving thief, who stole to decorate his own apartment.

Lugo, 31, is set to be sentenced Feb. 28 to one to three years in prison.


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