Wine Steward Accused of Art Theft
December 6, 2011
“The best things in life are free, but you can keep them for the birds and bees…” One Mark Lugo, a wine steward is suspected of bicoastal art-theft spree. He did take a few bottles of wine that did not belong to him also. In October, Lugo plead guilty to grand theft for the San Francisco heist of a $275,000 Picasso. Having served a 138-day sentence in California, he plead not guilty to grand larceny in New York.
Lugo’s San Francisco attorney, Douglas Horngrad, has called him “more like someone who was in the midst of a psychiatric episode” than a calculating art thief. It may be so, but Lugo is accused of steeling expensive art works from New York hotels and investigators found a $430,000 cache of stolen art at Lugo’s apartment including F. Leger’s 1917 “Composition with Mechanical Elements.”
Lugo is represented by a New York lawyer, James Montgomery, according to whom “when the dust settles, and the DA’s office calms down a little bit, we’ll find that Mr. Lugo is a man who had no commercial motive at all” in the alleged thefts.
The dust is unlikely to settle quickly. According to the San Francisco district attorney’s office, Lugo is also suspected of several other New York art heists.