Trial for alleged art thief set for December

An alleged art crook whose residential hotel room in the Tenderloin reportedly resembled a storage room at the Louvre will face a jury two days after Christmas.

Art connoisseur Terry Helbing, 53, allegedly nabbed dozens of artwork from various San Francisco galleries, studios and libraries and stuffed them like a pack rat in his room at the Cambridge residential hotel at 473 Ellis St., authorities said.

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 say they served a search warrant at Helbing’s home 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 will have a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 22. The jury trial is set for Dec. 27.

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

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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