Feature image by Geoffrey Fairchild attribution 2.0 generic (CC by 2.0).
By: Alison Chodak
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- On May 11, 2018 Netflix released a four-part documentary called “Evil Genius: the True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist.” This documentary is about the Erie, Pennsylvania bank heist which happened on August 28, 2003. A man named Brian Wells, pizza delivery man for Mama Mia’s Pizzeria, was asked to rob a PNC bank with a collar bomb around his neck and a cane gun.
On that same day, police caught up to him and had Wells sit in street because they realized he had a bomb around his neck, which ultimately led to his demise. Many people believed he wasn’t the mastermind of this case, instead he was forced to rob the bank. Many people knew Brian Wells to be a genuinely happy guy and felt he was the victim of a delivery gone south.
Later in the docuseries, we are introduced to suspects, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong and Bill Rothstein, who previously had been romantically involved. They broke up because Diehl-Armstrong is a very manipulative woman and Rothstein was an arrogant man. Rothstein and Diehl-Armstrong’s relationship is very odd in the docuseries, it seems as if he would do anything for her even when she betrayed him and lied to him.
In that same week, coworker of Wells, Robert Thomas-Pinetti tragically died. There was no cause of death however, cops knew this was tied to Wells’ case. Pinetti seemed to be very anxious when Wells passed away and said he would talk to the cops on that Monday, but Pinetti passed away that Sunday.
This case wouldn’t officially be closed until 2018 when a witness relayed some information. This series was super entertaining and when you thought that one question was solved, another unraveled. The voice of the narrator was also very soothing and to find out that this crime was recent is even crazier. “Evil Genius” is one of the best docuseries I have ever watched and the fact that it was close to home makes it even more shocking.
To find out who the key witness was and who was the mastermind of the bank heist, watch the docuseries on Netflix now.