By Kareem Johnson and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN - An alleged San Francisco Picasso thief who had works from seven Manhattan art galleries and hotels stashed at his Hoboken apartment faces a New York arrest warrant, cops said.
Mark Lugo, who was arraigned Friday in California for allegedly stealing the $200,000 drawing "Tete de Femme," faces extradition to New York on grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property charges, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
Lugo, 30, a former sommelier at Flatiron hot spot BLT Fish and worker at Per Se, allegedly had a trove of 11 filched paintings in his apartment, all of which vanished from some of the toniest spots in the Big Apple over a three-week period, according to officials.
The priciest of the stolen works discovered laying around and hanging on the walls of the suspect's apartment during Tuesday's raid was a $350,000 Fernand Leger sketch that was taken from the Carlyle Hotel on June 28, according to the NYPD and Hoboken cops.
Pieces from artists like Mie Yim, Nara Yoshimoto and John Michael Basquiat were among those allegedly taken during the spree, which began June 6.
The cheapest of the the discovered works were five, $1,500 Mie Yim paintings taken from the Chambers Hotel, on 56th Street, on June 14, Browne said.
The other spots targeted were the Harris Gallery, in SoHo, the Opera Gallery, in SoHo, the Skot Foreman Gallery, in TriBeCa, the Jack Shainman Gallery, in Chelsea, and the William Bennett Gallery, in SoHo, which lost a $30,000 Picasso etching.
William Bennett Gallery managing partner, William Ledford, said that they didn't even realize the piece from the famed artist was missing until the next day.
"It's very common for sales people to take a piece off the wall and show it to a client in a private viewing room," he told DNAinfo.
At the time of the theft, the gallery, at 65 Greene St., was photographing its Picasso exhibit as well.
"The next morning it dawned on us that, oh, this is really gone," he said.
"We weren’t particularly sure what to make of it."
After Lugo's arrest for the alleged California theft, a friend sent Ledford the suspect's picture, but no one on staff recognized him.
In the wake of the theft, the gallery discovered a gap in its security cameras that could allow someone to sneak by. But the problem was quickly remedied.
Ledford said that the piece, "Sculpteur et Deux Tetes," stood out because it was the only vertical work in the exhibit.
"From looking at the list of art, he put together a nice collection," he said.
"It sounds like he is a collector, except he didn’t want to pay for the art that he wanted to take home."
Lugo pleaded not guilty in San Francisco Friday to charges of theft, burglary and possession of stolen property, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
His request to have his eye-popping $5 million bail reduced to $2 million was denied, the paper said.
The only thing Lugo said was "good morning" to the judge, according to the report.
His lawyer, Douglas Horngrad, told DNAinfo that all of the alleged thefts occurred within the past 45 days and that they were indicative of someone in the midst of a compulsive episode, "rather than an art thief who is sophisticated enough to know how to fence a Picasso."