True crime series have been all the rage on Netflix lately. First it was Making A Murderer that premiered back in December 18th, 2015 and then there was the wild PR nightmare of Wild Wild Country in March this year (you can read more about that documentary here). There are a handful of crime series that audiences can’t get enough of.
The Duplass Brothers were responsible for creating Wild Wild Country back in March. Their latest docuseries features a story about a pizza delivery man who walked into a bank with a bomb strapped around his neck… and the event just gets WEIRDER from here. I’m talking about Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist.
Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist was released on May 11th, 2018. This true crime series was directed by Trey Borzillieri and Barbara Schroeder. It tells the baffling, yet true story about the death of a pizza man who robbed a bank with a bomb around his neck.
So here’s the full story – At around 2:20 PM on August 28th, 2003, pizza deliveryman Brian Wells walked into a PNC Bank in Erie, Pennsylvania. He handed a note to the teller demanding $250,000 in cash. Wells had a bomb strapped to his body through a metal neck collar and carried a loaded shotgun that resembled a walking cane. Twelve minutes later, he walked out with $8720 in cash; Wells went into the McDonald’s next door, where he retrieved a detailed note about where he would go and what to do next.
Fifteen minutes later, Brian Wells was arrested. Less than an hour after he entered the bank, the bomb detonated on him. He was killed in broad daylight as police was waiting for the bomb squad.
And the crazy part? That’s not even the most bizarre part of the whole story.
Investigators dug more into Well’s death, only to find a series of handwritten notes. These notes directed Wells on some deadly scavenger hunt around Erie. The notes were very detailed, providing vivid description about what Brian had to do and where he had to go.
Shortly after Well’s death, authorities received a call about a frozen body tucked underneath a freezer. A man named Bill Rothstein called 911, claiming that the dead body in the freezer was James Roden. What’s interesting is that Rothstein’s house happened to be down the road where Wells made the delivery. The trail of evidence eventually leads to a woman named Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong – and that’s when Trey Borzillieri really got interested in the case.
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong was an interesting woman – smart, good-looking, charismatic; she was very smart in school, receiving multiple degrees in college. In fact, Marjorie smart enough to create these sophisticated lies that manipulated everyone in her life. As smart as she was, Marjorie was mentally ill through out her life. She was diagnosed with being bipolar, manic depressive, and other illnesses.
Even with her illnesses, Marjorie lived to be a rich woman during her life. Her parents made good money and had enough to help out their children. Since Marjorie did not have any financial problems, it was confusing as to why she would be even linked to the heist.
But as the story unfolds, more bizarre twists are found throughout each episode. On the one hand, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong and Bill Rothstein were linked to the murder of Brian Wells; on the other hand, no one could figure out who was the mastermind behind the whole plan or why they wanted to execute it in the first place. Marjorie and Bill were smart enough to manipulate the authorities to confuse them even more. The whole thing became a ‘he said-she said’ scenario where not only was each side of the story was different, but it also presented another clue within the case.
There are still some missing holes in the story. Who was the original mastermind behind the robbery? Did Brian play a part in this event or was he simply a victim of the group? What was their original motives for carrying this out?
Even still, Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist is a shocking true crime story worth watching. You will be left with more questions than answers, even after watching the last episode. This is a baffling PR nightmare that is well worth reading about.
If you enjoyed learning about the wild PR nightmare featured on Wild Wild Country, then I highly suggest you watch Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist.