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Man Charged In SF Theft Of Picasso Drawing

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Missing Picasso, suspect

Security camera image from Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant shows man believed to have taken a Picasso drawing (inset) from Weinstein Gallery on 383 Geary St. in San Francisco, July 5, 2011. (Lefty O’Doul’s)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A 30-year-old New Jersey man was charged Friday with stealing a Pablo Picasso drawing from a San Francisco gallery, according to the district attorney’s office.

Mark Lugo, of Hoboken, N.J., was charged with one felony count of grand theft and one felony count of second-degree burglary. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Lugo remains in custody. His bail has been set at $5 million.

Lugo was arrested Wednesday in Napa after police used surveillance footage and eyewitness accounts to track him to a hotel in San Francisco, and then to an apartment in Napa.

Around 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, Lugo allegedly walked into the Weinstein Gallery at 383 Geary St. and took a pencil-on-paper drawing titled “Tete de Femme,” valued at about $275,000, and fled in a waiting taxicab, police said.

Officers were able to track down the cab and learned that its driver took Lugo to the Hotel Palomar at Market and Fourth streets where he was staying, police Lt. Ed Santos said.

Lugo had flown in from New Jersey on Monday, and was found Wednesday night at the Napa apartment, where he was with two friends he knew from the East Coast, Santos said.

The painting was in good condition but had been taken out of the frame, and it looked like Lugo was preparing to have it shipped somewhere, according to Santos.

The friends did not appear to know that Lugo had stolen the drawing and were not arrested, he said.

Lefty O’Doul’s, a restaurant and bar located just down the street from the art gallery, captured video footage of the alleged thief on a surveillance camera outside the building, and police acknowledged today that the footage helped identify Lugo.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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