Picasso theft suspect to plead not guilty 

The man accused of stealing a Picasso drawing from a San Francisco art gallery will plead not guilty when he appears in court again Friday, his attorney said Monday.

Mark Lugo, a 30-year-old Hoboken, N.J., resident, appeared in court briefly Monday in order to postpone his arraignment.

Lugo faces one felony count each of grand theft, possession of stolen property and second-degree burglary. He allegedly walked into the Weinstein Gallery at Powell and Geary streets and swiped the “Tête de Femme” drawing.

Lugo was found a day later in Napa visiting friends at a condo. After a search of the home, police found the sketch, worth an estimated $275,000.

Lugo’s attorney, Douglas Horngrad, downplayed the case Monday.

“Nobody died, and nobody was assaulted,” he said outside the courtroom after the hearing with Lugo. “It’s not the crime of the century.”

Horngrad, who is based out of San Francisco, is not taking the case pro bono. During an interview with The San Francisco Examiner on Friday, Lugo said he did not want a public defender and that he was looking for a high-end lawyer to take the case pro bono.

District Attorney Lindsey Chow said an enhancement charge might be added since the item is worth more than $200,000, but she declined to discuss specifics of the case.

“The court will decide,” she said.

Lugo is being held on $5 million bail.


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