“I’m about to go off,” Brian Wells told the cops as he was thrown to the sidewalk and handcuffed after a daring bank robbery attempt. And then he did. Netflix’s new true crime documentary series Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist will tell the “truth behind an extraordinary criminal case known as the ‘pizza bomber heist.’”
The four-part original series comes from executive producers Mark and Jay Duplass, who made Netflix’s pop-culture phenomenon Wild Wild Country. Evil Genius is written and directed by Barbara Schroeder.
“In 2003 in Erie, Pennsylvania, a robbery gone wrong and a terrifying public murder capture the nation’s attention, and a bizarre collection of Midwestern hoarders, outcasts, and lawbreakers play cat-and-mouse with the FBI,” reads the press statement. “Eventually, a middle-aged mastermind named Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong — once a town beauty, now a woman grappling with mental illness — is arrested. But 15 years later, Evil Genius proves there’s more to the conspiracy and murders than was ever thought.”
Forty-six-year old pizza deliveryman Brian Wells blew up three minutes before the bomb squad arrived. He had just walked out of a PNC Bank in Erie, Pennsylvania, with a bag filled with $8,702 in cash. He walked into the bank with a bulge under his T-shirt and note reading “Gather employees with access codes to vault and work fast to fill bag with $250,000. You have only 15 minutes.”
Wells had a device hanging from his neck. When state troopers caught up with him, Wells told them a group of black men put a gun to his head and chained the bomb around his neck while he was delivering a pizza. “I’m not lying,” he told them. TV camera crews arrived at the scene before the bomb squad. Wells died on the sidewalk when the device went off, ripping a 5-inch gash in his chest.
Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist launches globally May 11 on Netflix.