Mark Lugo, the wine steward suspected of stealing art from New York hotels by simply walking out with them in a tote bag has pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court according to the Associated Press. He is fresh off a four month stint in jail for walking out of a San Francisco gallery with a Picasso under his arm (he escaped via taxi cab). He was hanging the stolen art in his apartment.
“The charges relate to two thefts of a total of six artworks, including what prosecutors called a $350,000 sketch by the French Cubist painter Fernand Leger. But prosecutors said a search of Lugo’s former apartment in Hoboken, N.J., turned up four other pieces — including a Picasso work — that may have been stolen from Manhattan venues, and they said the investigation was continuing.”
Lugo was identified as a suspect in “several New York heists” following his arrest for the stolen Picasso in San Fransisco. Police found Mr. Lugo in a friend’s apartment, along with the Picasso. He pleaded guilty to that theft.
According to the AP, his lawyer defended him as “someone who was in the midst of a psychiatric episode.” Investigators found $420,000 worth of stolen art in his apartment in Hoboken.