Man pleads guilty to Picasso theft at SF gallery

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A New Jersey man who walked out of a San Francisco gallery with a pencil sketch by Pablo Picasso worth $275,000 pleaded guilty to grand theft Thursday.

Workers at the Weinstein Gallery said Mark Lugo brazenly snatched the drawing, called "Tete de Femme" (Head of a Woman), from a wall of their gallery on July 5. Lugo then walked down the street and got into a cab with the sketch under his arm.

But quick police work, video surveillance cameras and an alert taxi driver led to his arrest within 24 hours.

When investigators searched Lugo's apartment in Hoboken, N.J., they uncovered a treasure trove of stolen art worth some $430,000.

Lugo, 30, pleaded guilty to grand theft in the San Francisco case. Under terms of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop other charges, including burglary. The deal calls allows for Lugo to be released on his sentencing date, Nov. 21, after getting credit for the time he has already served.

His attorney, Douglas Horngrad, said Lugo would then be extradited to New York to face similar charges in art heists there.

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