Picasso-Thieving Sommelier Pleads Guilty

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Lugo, sad, back in July. Photo: SFPD

Remember Mark Lugo? He was the former sommelier at New York's BLT Fish and onetime employee at Per Se who had a taste not only for fine wine but for really expensive art that didn't belong to him? He just pleaded guilty in a San Francisco court to one count of grand theft (even though he'd previously pleaded not guilty), in exchange for which charges of burglary and excessive theft were dropped. He'll now be off to New York on November 21, on supervised release, to face a few more theft charges there.

You see, prior to hopping the plane to San Francisco in early July, where he was caught on camera swiping a Picasso sketch worth $200,000 from a gallery near Union Square, Lugo was wanted for another brazen theft at the Carlyle Hotel of another Picasso drawing worth about $350,000, which authorities found in his apartment. Also, he may have swiped a couple of bottles of Petrus from a New Jersey wine store. His attorney described the events as part of a "compulsive episode." He's been in a San Francisco jail since July 6, and he's getting credit for time served on a sixteen-month sentence.

Let this be a lesson to everyone ourselves included about trying to keep your tastes in line with your budget. Oh, and about not stealing.

Guilty plea in S.F. theft of Picasso sketch [SF Chronicle]
Earlier: Suspected Picasso Thief Mark Lugo Had Another Picasso in His N.J. Apartment
Winsome Union Square Hof Brau Lefty ODouls Plays Roll In Capture of Art Thief