Crime doesn't pay, but it entertained and shocked all of us in 2011 

click to enlarge The theft of a Picasso painting from a San Francisco art gallery was one of 2011's most memorable crime stories for The City. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • The theft of a Picasso painting from a San Francisco art gallery was one of 2011's most memorable crime stories for The City.

Without further ado, here are the 2011 stars of The San Francisco Examiner’s Law & Disorder crime blotter:

The Mark Lugo Affair

They called him the Thomas Crown of art thieves. But art-loving wine expert Mark Lugo starred on surveillance cameras, not the big screen. On July 5, the unemployed sommelier from New Jersey waltzed into a Union Square art gallery and left with an original sketch by Pablo Picasso. Lugo was arrested the next day. A police search of his N.J. apartment uncovered 11 more stolen artworks lying about or hung on a wall. He also allegedly lifted $6,000 worth of rare wine from a Jersey store. His heists have been filmed on surveillance cameras in New York, New Jersey and San Francisco, authorities say.

Trebek tumbles tracking thief

Answer: The famous game show host who snapped his Achilles tendon while chasing a hooker down a hotel hallway. Question: Who is Alex Trebek? The “Jeopardy!” host was asleep next to his wife in a hotel room at the Marriott Marquis when a burglar broke in. The burglar fled with $650 in cash and other items. The 71-year-old Trebek gave chase, injuring himself in the process. Lucinda Moyers was soon detained, and she claimed she was meeting a john at the hotel when Trebek began hurling accusations at her. The only problem is, she has been busted four times in the past for burglarizing San Francisco hotels.

Pumpkins and politics

Oh, my gourd! Thieves ripped into a 1,400-pound pumpkin being displayed in front of a Ferry Building restaurant, making off with its innards — including valuable seeds.

Political saboteurs? The day before the Nov. 8 election, Supervisor David Chiu’s mayoral campaign headquarters was burglarized, with “thousands of dollars” in equipment stolen and “confidential campaign materials” pulled from drawers.

Motown fake: A man posing as legendary Motown celebrities conned Bay Area small-business owners into wining, dining, housing and entertaining him — until cops found him at the Hyde Out bar.

Tip thief jarring: Coffee merchants in San Francisco cheered the arrest of a serial thief who brazenly dipped his grubby mitts into their tip jars.

This cat was no rat, but still got whacked

Was it a mob hit? A pet cat was found in a Redwood City lagoon with a 5-pound dumbbell tied to its neck. Sewer district workers found the 12-year-old tuxedo cat swimming with the fishes. They brought him to the Peninsula Humane Society. The cat was estimated to have been in the water for two to three days. The dumbbell was attached to his neck with heavy-duty plastic zip-tie fasteners. Animal lovers were furious about the killing — and also that we would suggest it was a mob hit.

Rough-sex lawyer accused of rape

Three women came forward with tales of sadistic sex encounters with San Francisco lawyer Michael Hoffman, whose firm specializes in workplace sexual harassment claims. The women claimed they met Hoffman in Internet personal ads and were sexually assaulted at his Aquatic Park apartment. But the crimes haven’t been easy to prove. According to Hoffman, he was quite clear in his ads when he wrote statements like, “I want you, I want to hit you, I want you to cry.” Charges involving two of the women have since been thrown out after Hoffman offered video tapes of the sex acts.

Boiling and brawling

Literally in hot water: A woman allegedly poured boiling water on her sleeping ex-husband, then belted him with a bat in a jealous rage. He later died from the injuries.

Sadistic SUV attack: After a brawl in the Richmond district eatery, a hothead hopped into an SUV, then ran over an off-duty firefighter. The man’s girlfriend is accused of trying to cover up the hideous crime.

Football fans from hell: Shootings, bathroom beatdowns and a whole lot more mayhem plagued the preseason rivalry game between the 49ers and Raiders.

Hog & Rocks horror: In an apparent case of mistaken identity, a 15-year-old suspected gangbanger was charged with fatally shooting a cook who was taking a smoke break outside a Mission district restaurant.

West Coast baseball rivalry’s tragedy and triumph

A heated baseball rivalry in no way excused the brutal near-death beating of a Giants fan at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day. Bryan Stow, 42, an emergency medical technician and father from Santa Cruz, suffered severe brain trauma after being attacked by thugs. Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers fans alike condemned the assault. Two suspects are in custody. Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 31, have pleaded not guilty to mayhem, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury. The good news is that Stow has made a significant recovery since the March incident.

Boys botch body disposal after teen’s gruesome killing

The more details that emerged about the death of 16-year-old Andy Zeng, the more our stomachs turned. Zeng’s body was found in a Silver Terrace home with a gunshot wound to the head and plastic bags covering his head and legs. The beloved teenager had no gang ties, but prosecutors painted a disturbing theory of the crime: A 15-year-old pal shot him (the boy claimed it was an accident), then called buddies to help him dispose of the body. He called one teen known as a “fire expert.” The kids considered cutting the body in half and setting it on fire with gasoline. After realizing that their matches were damp, prohibiting them from starting a fire, they gave up on the disposal project and fled.

Hair and an heir

Horrible hair fiend: A woman waiting at a Muni bus stop was slapped when she wouldn’t allow a creepy thug to tough her hair.

How much for that baby? Mom went to police after a creepy male jogger on the running path along Lake Merced offered her $400,000 for her baby.

Driver won’t take Miss Daisy. An Excelsior man who had been driving an 80-year-old woman to church sought help from police because of her constant sexual advances.

Nun stalker: A San Francisco parolee was accused of stalking nuns who run a local soup kitchen. The man’s rap sheet included convictions for criminal threats and dealing crack.

Talk about being blue in the face

A San Francisco mom took her 4-year-old daughter to watch “The Smurfs” at a movie theater in Daly City. Sounds pretty tame, except that the apparently bored mom brought along a bottle of vodka. After the movie, she was quite drunk, but she still got behind the wheel of her car with her child in tow. She sideswiped two cars and struck a cement median at the exit booth of The Century Theaters. She wasn’t coherent enough to talk to cops, but her daughter told them, “My mom is drunk.”

Arrested for violence en route to anger management

If only he could have kept his cool a few more minutes. A man was arrested on charges of domestic violence while on the way to anger-management class. Cops at the Taraval Police Station responded to a call that the man was roughing up his girlfriend in the Inner Sunset district. They met with a crying woman. The boyfriend told cops the couple was only arguing, but a witness said he grabbed the woman, threw her onto a bench and then grabbed her face and twisted her head so that she would have to look at him. We hope he can face his demons.

Drugs and daughters

Hungry druggie: After a traffic stop, a man arrested for possessing cocaine allegedly tried to bite a San Francisco cop’s hand in an effort to eat and dispose of the drug.

Dine and dash dolts: Two crooks who left an Outback Steakhouse at Hillsdale Mall without paying — nearly assaulting an employee during the getaway — left behind a jacket, paperwork and a cellphone that helped police track them down.

Soured drug deal bums out parolee: He whined to police that he brought $2,500 to a drug deal, was invited into a car and robbed of the cash in the Haight neighborhood.

Forgetful dad: A man who had been pulled over by police jumped out of his car and tried to run from cops in the Inner Sunset, but forgot something important — his 12-year-old daughter.

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