07/20/2011 04:12 am ET | Updated Sep 18, 2011

Mark Lugo, Eat Your Heart Out: 10 Historic Art Heists (PHOTOS)

If the case of Mark Lugo, suspected Picasso thief, can teach us anything, it's that stealing art is extremely difficult. It's almost comically easy, of course, to walk out of a gallery with a piece under your arm, as Lugo is alleged to have done, but it's much harder to do anything with the painting once you've got it.

For one thing, most works by artists as famous as Picasso are so rigorously catalogued that it's nearly impossible to fence their work. You'd likely have to know a particular buyer or be well-connected in the black market to get anyone to take such hot property off your hands.

Cultural objects can also prompt a much larger investigation than ordinary property. In the case of the Picasso theft, which was covered extensively by national news outlets, the perp didn't stand a chance. The whole city of San Francisco was on the lookout, so it was no surprise when a bar produced security camera footage of Lugo walking past with a frame under his arm.

When a famous work is stolen these days, odds are that it will be recovered within a few years. Among the images in the slideshow below, that's mostly been the case. But for the few that police haven't been able to track down, the element of intrigue is strong. Who knows what oligarchs or James Bond villains might have one hanging over their fireplace?

Picasso Guy, Eat Your Heart Out: 10 Famous Art Thefts