Man who allegedly got art for a steal returns to court 

He called himself an “art collector.”

“Kleptomaniac” is the more appropriate term, authorities said.

Art connoisseur Terry Helbing, 53, was scheduled to return to court Thursday for a preliminary hearing on charges that he nabbed dozens of artwork from various San Francisco galleries, studios and libraries.

Police arrested Helbing in June at the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture at the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. A worker there had recognized Helbing from a burglary in April, in which about $15,000 worth of art was stolen.

Following his arrest, police served a search warrant at the Cambridge residential hotel at 473 Ellis St., where Helbing supposedly lived, and recovered dozens of paintings and rugs, along with other small pieces of art.

The artwork was allegedly stolen from multiple locations throughout The City, with the total value possibly reaching a six figure dollar amount, authorities said.

Helbing pleaded not guilty on June 4 felony charges of grand theft, burglary and possession of stolen property, prosecutors said. The District Attorney said it has tacked on an additional 38 felony counts.

He remains in custody on $95,000 bail, prosecutors said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer Brent Begin contributed to this report.

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