TODAY | June 20, 2012
>> police are stepping up the search for a man who was caught on camera vandalizing a popular picasso painting. janet shamlian with the latest on this story. good morning.
>> reporter: good morning. another collection in the same gallery when this terrific act of vandalism happened. what you see is a man spray painting over a picasso and running off. we're now hearing from the man who said he shot that video as it unfolded. it's an irreplaceable work of art painted more than 80 years ago pablo picasso 's famous woman in a red armchair. now the one-of-a-kind work is gaining even more fame because of this. you're looking at cell phone images captured by a visitor at the prestigious collection in houston. the man who shot the video didn't want to be identified but says he was stunned when it happened.
>> i was texting somebody on my phone. as soon as i saw him walk towards the picasso i pressed record. it only took one second. he spray painted it and walked off.
>> watch again as the suspect uses a stencil to spray paint a bull with the word conquista in front of it, which means bull in spanish. he identified himself as an up and coming mexican american artist looking to honor his work.
>> he went up to the painting without fear, spray painted it and walked off.
>> police are looking for the video and are searching for the vandal. a spokesman for the museum said the painting was immediately taken to the restoration lab where it's being repaired.
>> how sad someone would enter and do something like that to a work of art that should be enjoyed by everybody.
>> reporter: this isn't the first time a picasso was the victim of a vandal. kill lies all on one of the greatest masterpieces at the museum of modern art . in 34z 2003 the painting of washington crossing the delaware , glued a computer image onto the painting. just last month the painting by clifford still worth $30 million was scratched and punched by a woman in denver. she was arrested and pled guilty to criminal mischief. in houston the painting is expected to be back on display soon, amid concern over the delicate balance between sharing art and protecting it.
>> you want everything glazed, bulletproof glass , guards standing behind you, what is the museum experience.
>> reporter: amid speculation the witness may have working with the vandal, police are looking at all possibilities at the time. they are looking at the museum itself. the museum says that picasso will go back on display.
>> janet, thank you so much.