How a thief’s spouse ruined ‘the heist of the century’



In 2006, a military of cops surrounded the Banco Rio in Acassuso, Argentina, and negotiated for hours with a daring group of robbers inside.

The criminals took hostages and demanded the police convey them pizza, because the nation watched on dwell TV. Snipers perched in bushes, able to shoot if wanted.

Lastly, one robber instructed the police they had been able to give up. However when regulation enforcement entered the financial institution, there wasn’t a perp to be discovered. They’d vanished with out a hint, taking with them a reported $20 million in money and valuables from security deposit containers.

“We use[d] [a] tunnel, to not break in, however to interrupt out,” says the theft’s mastermind, Fernando Araujo, within the new Netflix documentary “Financial institution Robbers: the Final Nice Heist,” which debuts on Wednesday.  

“Nobody [had] ever deliberate to do a heist this manner.”

The plan

For years, Fernando Araujo had been plotting how to tunnel into the bank.
For years, Fernando Araujo had been plotting easy methods to tunnel into the financial institution.
Courtesy of Netflix

Araujo, an artist and small time pot grower, began concocting the plan in 2003, when he rented a home close to the financial institution and started exploring the sewage tunnels beneath. Impressed partly by the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” he dubbed his scheme the “Donatello Challenge.”

Posing as an structure pupil, he known as the general public works company in Acassuso to get data on how the bottom may deal with tunnels. Then he satisfied Sebastián García Bolster, an area motorbike mechanic to hitch his crew as a civil engineer.

They calculated easy methods to drill 15 meters diagonally into the financial institution, primarily making their tunnel a triangular hypotenuse between the constructing’s basement and the sewer. Doing so would require some heavy equipment.

Sebastián García Bolster was brought on as an engineer to the robbery.
Sebastián García Bolster was introduced on as an engineer to the theft.
Courtesy of Netflix

“To make a gap the dimensions of a soda bottle [with pickaxes] took one hour. It was not possible. So we had to usher in a 220 watt generator so we may use an electro pneumatic drill,” Araujo says.

As their plans got here collectively, they discovered extra males to be a part of the heist. Profession criminal Rubén “Beto” de la Torre was recruited as muscle and Luis Mario Vitette Sellanes got here on as properly — he would turn out to be designated police negotiator. They recruited one other man referred solely within the movie as “the Doc” and stated to be each a lawyer and a complicated thief.

After years of tinkering, the plan got here into focus. Somewhat than going by the sewer to exit to native waters, as regulation enforcement would possible predict, Araujo’s crew would go deeper into the town’s bowels.

The robbers modified a van so that they could climb through its floor directly from the sewers.
The robbers modified a van in order that they might climb by its ground immediately from the sewers.
Courtesy of Netflix

The crew purchased an outdated van and customised it to have a ground hatch so they might park it above a manhole and climb immediately into the automobile with out ever going out onto the road. They recruited a person named Julián Zalloecheverría to be their driver and somebody known as “the child” to function further muscle.


The hostages were freed once the perps escaped through their tunnel.
The hostages had been freed as soon as the perps escaped by their tunnel.
AFP through Getty Photographs

At round 12:38 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2006, the crew of robbers stormed in by the entrance door of the financial institution, weapons in hand and able to take hostages. Sellanes went to the highest ground to get the financial institution supervisor, then introduced the person to the basement the place the secure and safety containers had been. There, he compelled a safety guard to give up his weapon after which go away the constructing.

Araujo and Beto targeted on the financial institution’s floor stage, managing hostages and securing exits.

Police rapidly descended upon the financial institution, and Sellanes started faux negotiations with the cops to get extra time for his accomplices to assemble the loot. He threw on a faux mustache, yarmulke, and glasses to throw off police and snipers peering by the financial institution’s home windows. At 2:30 p.m., he made a degree of releasing two hostages.

Luis Mario Viette Sellanes donned a disguise when negotiating with police.
Luis Mario Viette Sellanes donned a disguise when negotiating with police.
Courtesy of Netflix

In the meantime, Bolster was within the basement utilizing a particular cannon to interrupt open deposit containers as rapidly as attainable.

“I didn’t cease to see what was inside or if it really opened or something,” Bolster says. “Simply breaking, breaking, breaking all of the locks.”

After two hours, they’d cracked open 143 containers and it was time to flee. Sellanes instructed authorities they had been prepared to surrender.

“Carry us some pizzas, convey us some soda, we’ll have slightly meals and give up,” Sellanes recollects telling the negotiators. He knew they’d be out of the constructing by the point forces entered.

The robbers demanded the police to give them pizza and they would surrender.
The robbers demanded the police to provide them pizza and they might give up.
AFP through Getty Photographs

The robbers splashed chlorine all through the financial institution to cowl their DNA and tossed random strands of hair round to throw off crime scene investigators. Then they escaped into their tunnels and into the sewer with out a hint.

There, two small boats, one with a motor awaited them. However the motor wouldn’t begin, so the lads needed to paddle by the sewer to achieve their van 14 blocks away. Araujo laid sprawled out atop the loot in one of many boats to safe it.

They efficiently made it to the van and drove to their secure home. The cops had been none the wiser.

Police surrounded the bank during the heist. They negotiated with the robbers.
Police surrounded the financial institution in the course of the heist. They negotiated with the robbers.
AFP through Getty Photographs

“Immediately, the very first thing I needed to do was activate the TV and ensure they weren’t behind,” Araujo says within the movie. “Right here we had been with the cash so distant.”

The lads then divided the cash evenly amongst themselves and parted methods.

Sellanes says he drove off with “4 trashbags full of money.”

Authorities had been at first baffled by the escape. They didn’t even notice the gang had tunneled out till a financial institution employee noticed a bit of misplaced furnishings overlaying the opening.

It was a high tension situation in Argentina when a bank was robbed and hostages were taken in 2006.
It was a excessive rigidity scenario in Argentina when a financial institution was robbed and hostages had been taken in 2006.
AFP through Getty Photographs

In it, they discovered booby traps and a observe from Araujo that learn, in Spanish, “in a wealthy neighborhood, with out weapons or grudges, it’s simply cash and never love.”

It was an image good job, the take was large, the police had no leads and nobody had been injured. Araujo and Co. appeared to have gotten away with the heist of the century and would have the ability to take pleasure in their riches in peace.

One unfastened finish

In 2006, a group of robbers pulled of "the heist of the century." But one woman led to their demise.
In 2006, a gaggle of robbers pulled of “the heist of the century.” However one girl led to their demise.
Courtesy of Netflix

Then, weeks after the theft, Beto seen one thing amiss.

“I come again [home] sooner or later and discover my [stash] bag is misplaced,” he says within the movie. “I noticed the stack of cash had dropped, fairly a bit.”

His spouse, Alicia di Tullio, admitted to him that she had taken about $300,000 and a few security deposit loot from Beto with out asking permission.

Alicia Di Tullio led to the arrest of Rio Bank culprits.
Alicia Di Tullio led to the arrest of Rio Financial institution culprits.

The 2, who had been collectively 18 years, bought right into a blowout argument. Beto demanded she convey again what she taken instantly and left the home together with his remaining loot in a huff. Livid, di Tullo known as the police and turned in her husband.

The lads realized their good plan had been thwarted. Sellanes recollects the Doc calling him frantically, saying “De la Torre’s spouse goes to show us all in quickly, she’s asking for every of us to pay her $300,000, if we gained’t she’s gonna give us up.”

Sellanes replied: “Doc, she will be able to go f–okay herself. I’m not giving her a factor, let Beto repair all this together with her and go away me out of it.”

However Beto couldn’t repair what his spouse had achieved.

“Beto” de la Torre was brought on as muscle for the heist.
“Beto” de la Torre was introduced on as muscle for the heist.
Courtesy of Netflix

Beto, Bolster, Sellanes, Araujo and Zalloecheverría had been all arrested and charged, with di Tullio serving as a confidential witness.

“She instructed us she had information concerning the scenario…for the needs of this case, there is no such thing as a proof that enables us to say what occurred between [Beto and Di Tullio],” prosecuting district legal professional Gastón Garbus says within the movie. “I really feel prefer it’s associated to the money and it wasn’t induced from matter of spite over the presence of one other girl.”

Beto confirmed that her motive was cash. “She valued [it] greater than household and that was it, the tragic ending of my story, I consider everybody’s too,” he stated.

In 2010, Beto was sentenced to fifteen years, Araujo was given 14, Zalloecheverría bought 10 and Bolster bought 9. Sellanes agreed to a separate, expedited trial the place he was given 14 years for not simply the theft however different miscellaneous crimes he was discovered linked to round that point as properly. The Doc and the child had been by no means caught.

A cheerful ending for all?

Fernando Araujo was the robbery's mastermind.
Fernando Araujo was the theft’s mastermind.
Courtesy of Netflix

Not one of the males ended up serving the sentences in full and all at the moment are free and celebrated for his or her infamous heist.

“There have been individuals who out of the blue idolized this and see it as, I don’t know, one thing out of the strange,” Araujo says.

Sellanes has amassed over 30,000 Twitter followers, and the gang’s story was immortalized in a 2020 thriller-comedy “The Heist of the Century.”

Araujo says their story has a contented ending.

“Everybody who performed a task on this story gained. Prosecutors superior careers, cops grew to become detectives afterwards and the judges had been acknowledged. The victims’ insurance coverage bought them greater than they’d,” he says.

Within the documentary, a number of of the lads trace that a lot of the money and valuables they scored was by no means recovered.

“All people’s curiosity, it’s nice…the place is [the rest of the loot]? It’s within the Cayman Islands within the, you higher write this down, CBU [account] quantity 24!” Araujo says sarcastically.

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