The Parable of a Wine Steward Turned Art Thief

A woman observes wine by holding the glass up to the light during the Grape Harvest Fetival n Santa Cruz, epicenter of the Colchagua valley, some 160 km south from Santiago, on March 15, 2008. The Grape Harvest Festival began in March in many vineyards, where the white stocks like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are the first to be harvested, followed by the red ones like Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and ending with the Carmenere, which is said to be Chile's emblematic stock, after phylloxera made it disappear from France, the only other country in which such stock existed. AFP PHOTO/MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Sure, it looks innocent ... Photo: MARTIN BERNETTI/2008 AFP

It's easy to see how a high-end job like wine-stewarding would give a person high-end tastes. So high-end, in the case of onetime wine-slinger Mark Lugo, that he took to snatching art from restaurants and hotels on both coasts — presumably to keep up with the Joneses in Hoboken, where he hung the works on the walls of his apartment. It was his theft of a sketch by the Cubist painter Fernand Léger from the lobby of the Carlyle Hotel in New York that did Lugo in. He confessed to taking the drawing this week and now faces one to three years in prison. So watch out: That bottle of burgundy could very well be a gateway drug to the high life, even one you can't afford. [NYT]