Crime Scenes

Suspected Picasso Thief Mark Lugo Had Another Picasso in His N.J. Apartment

Mark Lugo, sad upon being arrested.
Mark Lugo, sad upon being arrested.

Mark Lugo, the sommelier and suspected Picasso thief who also may have swiped a couple of $2,000 bottles of Petrus from a New Jersey wine store, is being arraigned in San Francisco today. Oh, and he apparently had yet another Picasso drawing — which was stolen from the Carlyle Hotel in New York last month and was worth $350,000 — hanging on a wall in his Hoboken apartment. Police obtained a warrant and raided Lugo’s home yesterday after he made a phone call from jail to a female friend in Pennsylvania, likely telling her to go clean things up at his place.

Much like in the cases of the stolen drawing from the Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco, Picasso’s 1965 sketch titled Tete de Femme, and the stolen Petrus bottles, Lugo was I.D.’d on security footage from the Carlyle, lifting a Picasso off the wall there. New Jersey police reported finding a total of six other valuable artworks hanging in Lugo’s apartment.

Lugo’s defense attorney, given the evidence stacking up against Lugo, appears to be taking a mental health angle in a bid for leniency. He tells CBS that these apparent acts look more like the work of someone suffering from a “compulsive episode … rather than an art thief who is sophisticated enough to know how to a fence a Picasso.” It’s like they always say in caper movies: The easy part is stealing the loot. The hard part is moving it.

Prior to becoming a suspected criminal, Lugo was employed as beverage director at BLT Fish in New York City, and had previously worked at Per Se. He is being held on $5 million bail.

Suspected San Francisco Art Thief Had Another Picasso At Home, Police Say [CBS]
Man Charged With Stealing Picasso to Be Arraigned [AP/Examiner]
Earlier: Winsome Union Square Hof Brau Lefty O’Doul’s Plays Roll In Capture of Art Thief
Former Per Se Employee Suspected in San Francisco Picasso Theft

Suspected Picasso Thief Mark Lugo Had Another Picasso in His N.J.