And who do you image would be brazen enough to simply walk into an upscale art gallery in Union Square and coolly walk out with a stolen Picasso drawing worth upwards of $200,000? A criminal mastermind with a long record tracked by Interpol? Nope – it’s just some dude from Jersey.
To be exact, a 30-year old named Mark Lugo from Hoboken who works as a beverage manager somewhere on the east coast. He was visiting friends for Fourth of July weekend and was arrested at their apartment in Napa. At the time of the theft he had been staying at the Hotel Palomar to which he had taken a cab after stealing the 1965 pencil drawing “Tête de Femme (Head of a Woman)” from the well-known Weinstein Gallery.
And the only reason he was even caught so quickly was that the bar Lefty O’Douls happened to have a surveillance camera out front and caught Lugo walking away from the scene. The bar owner was able to print out high-resolution images from the camera and give that to investigators on the case. Crazy.
I hope the Weinstein Gallery increases their security after this. Maybe they’ll need to start attaching those cheesy magnetic strips to the back of their priceless paintings and install a detector by the doors.
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Photo credit: Mouton Noir Wines