Picasso Recovered, Suspect in Jail

Lefty O'Doul's credited for cracking case.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Thursday, Jul 7, 2011  |  Updated 2:36 PM PDT
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The chief of police was full of pride as he announced the arrest and the return of a art caper in San Francisco.

NBC Bay Area

The chief of police was full of pride as he announced the arrest and the return of a art caper in San Francisco.

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The San Francisco Police Department made an arrest in the theft of a Picasso drawing.   They also recovered the piece of artwork worth an estimated $200,000.

Police held a morning news conference Thursday to announce the break in the case and had the Picasso on hand as well.  Police identified the suspect as Mark Lugo from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Police said Lugo flew out to the Bay Area on Monday.  He was arrested in Napa on Wednesday.

Investigators credited the Lefty O'Doul's bar security camera as key to the break in the case.

The camera at the bar caught a man walking by at the time of the caper.

Here's how the theft went down: On Tuesday a man walked into the  Weinstein Gallery on Geary Street and walked away with a 1965 Picasso drawing titled "Tete de Femme."

Police said the thief then jumped into a cab and drove off. 

But before he hailed the cab, he walked in front of Lefty O'Doul's with the painting under his arm. The bar is just a couple doors down from the gallery. 

Police said Lugo had taken the drawing out of the frame, but did not know what he intended to do with it.

SFPD lists the following charges:

  • Burglary 
  • Grand Theft
  • Possession of stolen property
  • possession of controlled substance
  • possession of narcotic controlled substance

Lugo's bail has been set at $5 million.

Here's NBC Bay Area's report on the role that the bar played in catching the suspected thief.

View more videos at: http://www.nbcbayarea.com.

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