Mark Lugo, a wine steward from an upscale Manhattan restaurant, has plead guilty to a prolific bout of art thievery. He stole works by Basquiat, Yoshitomo Nara and others — accumulating a world-class trove worth $430,000 — and stashed it in his Hoboken apartment. He had no intention to sell it. Boinkers? Obviously… Or not?
Lugo was first caught stealing a Picasso drawing in San Francisco last July. He was a lot more successful in New York, where he plucked paintings off hotel walls and galleries and walked away with the loot hidden in a canvas tote bag or tucked snugly, smugly under his arm.
Lugo’s lawyer stressed that he wasn’t acting like a calculating heist-man, but “more like someone who was in the midst of a psychiatric episode,” driven by “no commercial motive at all”, merely “some compulsion, some mania.”
Lugo, a skilled sometime sommelier, has previously swiped three bottles of Château Petrus Pomerol worth $6,000 from a wine shop, presumably not to peddle but sip. Crazy, right? Or, just maybe, he just likes nice things? Maybe, just maybe, his hard art love is greater than a dealer’s, who just seeks to monetize an autograph while this gent… this gent hung it on his walls to enjoy.
Lugo will be sentenced on February 28th for 1-3 years.