Stolen Picasso drawing thief caught on Lefty O'Douls security camera

A Union Square restaurant says its security camera captured the brazen crook who swiped an original Picasso artwork from a nearby art gallery on Tuesday.

An image of the bandit carrying the pricey sketch was released Wednesday by Lee Housekeeper, spokesman for camera-armed eatery Lefty O'Douls.

The restaurant is only a few doors down from the Weinstein Gallery at 383 Geary St., where the Picasso was lifted around 11:40 a.m. Tuesday.

The crook walked into the gallery, plucked the drawing off the wall and left in the taxicab, police said.

San Francisco police hope that a taxicab’s security camera will also help identify the thief. On Tuesday night, cops interviewed the cabbie who picked up the crook and impounded his car to hunt for evidence, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

Details of the interview with the cabbie were not released. The driver works for Black & White Checker Cabs. The cab company declined to comment Wednesday.

Gallery owner Rowland Weinstein said the 1962 sketch “Tête de femme” was estimated to be worth about $200,000. Weinstein acquired it in May at an auction in New York for approximately $125,000, he said.

Housekeeper said he heard about the heist Tuesday night and remembered that Lefty O'Doul's had a security camera that likely captured the crook in flight. He called Lefty's owner Nick Bovis, who checked the tapes.

“Somehwere around 8 p.m. Nick calls and says I think I’ve got him,” Housekeeper said.

Media and police were at the restaurant Wednesday morning to view the footage.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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