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"Evil Genius"

A bank heist involving a man with a bomb strapped to his neck is just the beginning.

If you are looking for something new to watch on Netflix and enjoy crime shows and documentaries, then “Evil Genius: the True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist” should be on your watchlist.

The docuseries, which premiered on May 11, consists of one season with four episodes, centering around the murder of Brian Wells and the horrific events that took place in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 23, 2003.

Wells was a pizza delivery man who robbed a bank with a shotgun resembling a walking cane after seemingly being held hostage. The action was part of a scavenger hunt that the man was required to follow, and when police found Wells, he had a bomb secured around his neck.

Originally, police thought the sight was merely a ploy and that the bomb was most likely fake. Shortly after, however, the explosive detonated, killing Wells before the bomb squad could arrive at the scene. Authorities have never seen a case so bizarre, especially when considering the intricate detail used to make the bomb.

So, what actually happened leading up to that moment? Why did a pizza delivery man randomly rob a bank, and how did he get a bomb around his neck? The incident documented in “Evil Genius” became known as both the “collar bomb” case and the “pizza bomber” case.

During the original police investigation at the scene, Wells insisted that a group of African-American men attacked him and placed the device around his neck. But, as it turns out, his claims weren’t true at all. Officials believe that Wells was not a hostage — rather, evidence suggests he had a small role in planning the robbery.

The “Evil Genius” audience is then introduced to some other significant people, including Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, William “Bill” Rothstein, James Roden, Ken Barnes and Robert Thomas Pinetti. Later, details of the heist reveal even more secrets from the co-conspirators and Diehl-Armstrong, the main brain behind the plan.

Diehl-Armstrong suffered from manic depression, and her mental state declined as she aged. When the “Evil Genius” audience first meets her, she does not seem capable of planning and executing such a terrible event.

She manipulates police, acquaintances and viewers into believing that she did not commit a crime and that Rothstein is to blame. But that isn’t the end of the case.

The puzzling “Evil Genius” case continues to unfold with the mysterious death of another pizza delivery man, a dead body in a freezer and a possible death plot over an inheritance.

Is she responsible for more than simply a bank heist? To avoid spoiling everything, you will have to just watch the show yourself to find out all the details.

“Evil Genius” will keep you interested throughout its duration, leaving you with many questions as it progresses.

Its complicated plot will have you feeling as if you are a detective while you attempt to unravel the details and secrets of the case and work through the manipulative interviews to find out who is truly responsible for the string of events.

Writer Profile

Alexis Rogers

Temple University
Journalism and Spanish

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