Picasso Art Thief Pleads Not Guilty to Alleged New York Thefts

Mark Lugo.

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.

Picasso Art Thief Pleads Not Guilty to Alleged New York Thefts