San Francisco police impound cab over Picasso theft

San Francisco: Police investigating the theft of a Pablo Picasso sketch from a San Francisco art gallery impounded a taxicab on Wednesday used as the getaway vehicle, hoping for clues from its surveillance camera.

The car was seized a day after an unidentified but smartly dressed thief stole Picasso`s 1965 pencil drawing "Tete de Femme," which translates as "head of a woman," according to the Weinstein Gallery.

A man in dark glasses walked into the gallery and, before anyone noticed, made off with the sketch and escaped in a taxicab, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said. The sketch measures about 11 inches by 8 inches.

Police learned the name of the cab company used by the thief and on Wednesday spoke to the driver and impounded the cab to gather evidence.

The driver is not suspected as an accomplice in the theft, police said.

Police said they were pulling images from the cab`s camera to see if it captured anything that could lead to the suspect.

"We`re hoping a member of the public recognizes the piece, if someone is walking around with it or trying to sell it," Esparza said.

Video footage posted online from Lefty O`Douls, a bar on the same block as the gallery, showed a man appearing to carry a drawing, but police were unable to immediately confirm if the footage showed the suspect from the Picasso heist. "We can only say this could be our suspect," Esparza said.

The Weinstein Gallery is located near San Francisco`s tourist-filled Union Square, and it specializes in works from renowned painter Marc Chagall.

Bureau Report

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