Netflix has done it again. Their latest true crime documentary Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist will keep you glued to your sofa, binge-watching the four-part series. It all begins with a terrifying scenario. On Aug. 28, 2003 pizza delivery man Brian Wells, 46, entered the PNC Bank in Eerie, Pennsylvania with a homemade bomb clamped around his neck. He handed a teller a chilling note, demanding $250,000. What happened next is the stuff of nightmares and a twisted plot. Here are five key things you need to know about the case and the series. (Warning – major spoilers ahead!)
1. A homemade collar bomb was locked around Brian Wells’ neck after he delivered two pizzas to 8631 Peach Street. The call was placed to Mama Mia’s Pizza-Ria where he worked. He then entered PNC with the collar bomb – which he showed to the teller – and a loaded gun disguised as a cane. He walked out of the bank with nearly $9,000 in cash.
2. The heist was designed as a sick scavenger hunt. So Brian’s next stop was to the neighboring McDonald’s where he found another note, hidden under a rock. But he wasn’t able to complete the hunt because police arrived and confronted him in the parking lot of a nearby store. He claimed three black men attacked him and forced him to wear the bomb.
3. The device started ticking while the police and TV news cameras watched from a safe distance. But, before the bomb squad could arrive, it was set off and Brian was killed.
4. Investigators struggled to find the suspects, but they got an out of left field lead when a man called Bill Rothstein called the cops. He said that his ex-fiancée Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong was hiding the body of her murdered boyfriend, James Roden, in a freezer. Police arrested Marjorie, but she later called Bill a “filthy liar” and shockingly said he should be arrested for the murder of Brian Wells.
5. Bill was never charged with the murders of James Roden or the pizza bomb bank heist. But in January 2005 Marjorie was sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing her boyfriend. That year she confessed to the FBI that she supplied the kitchen timers for the collar bomb, but accused Bill of being the mastermind of a plot that involved others, including Brian Wells himself. To this day it’s not known if Brian was a coconspirator who was duped into believing the bomb was not real, or if he was a hostage.