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'Ninja Turtles' Inspired Bank Robbery Hits 'Heist of the Century' But Thief's Wife Blows It Up

In 2006, an army of police officers surrounded the Banco Rio in Acasso, Argentina, negotiating for hours with a band of robbers.

Criminals took hostages and demanded the police bring them pizza as the whole country watched live TV. A sniper is perched on a tree, ready to shoot if necessary.

Finally, one robber told the police that he was ready to surrender. However, when law enforcement entered the bank, they found no culprits. They vanished without a trace,with a reported$20 million in cash and valuables from a safe deposit box.

Heist mastermind Fernando Araujo will be released on Wednesday inNetflix new documentary Bank Robbers: the Last Great Heist.  

"Nobody ever planned a robbery in this way."


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

Araujo, an artist and small time pot grower, rented a house near a bank in 2003 and built a sewage system underneath. I started planning when I started investigating the tunnels. Inspired by "Teenage His Mutants His Ninjas His Turtles", he named his plan "The Donatello Project".

Posing as an architecture student, he called Acasso's public works agency for information on how the ground would handle the tunnel. He then convinced Sebastian Garcia Bolster, a local motorcycle mechanic, to join his team as a civil engineer.

They calculated how he would dig a 15-meter hole diagonally in the embankment to be the hypotenuse of the triangle between the basement of the building and the sewer. To do this, you will need some heavy equipment.

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

] ] It took an hour, which was not possible, so we had to bring in a 220-watt generator so we could use the electro-pneumatic drill,” says Araujo.

As their plans came together, they found more men participating in the robbery. Career thief Rubén “Beto” de la Torre was recruited as muscle, with Luis Mario Vitetto Serranes joining as well – he would become a designated police negotiator. They recruited another man, called "Doc" only in the film, who is said to be a lawyer and a sophisticated thief.

After years of trial and error, a plan came into focus. Rather than exiting through sewers into local waters, as law enforcement predicts, Araujo's team goes deeper into the city.

The robbers modified a van so that they could climb through its floor directly from the sewers.
Courtesy of Netflix

The crew purchased an old van and fitted it with a floor hatch. Customized to allow you to park over a manhole and get directly into your car without going out on the street. They recruited a man named Julián Zalloecheverría as their driver, and someone they called "The Child" as extra muscle.


The hostages were freed once the perps escaped through their tunnel.
AFP via Getty Images

Around 12:00 :38pm On Friday, January 13, 2006, a group of robbers broke into the bank's front door, armed with guns, ready to take hostages. Serranes went to the top floor to find the bank manager and took the man to the basement where the safe and security box were located. So he forced the guards to surrender the weapons and left the building.

Araujo and Beto concentrated on his ground floor of the bank, managing the hostages and securing an exit.

The police soon rushed to the bank, and Sellanes began phony negotiations with them to buy time for his accomplices to collect the loot. He donned a fake mustache, yarmulke and glasses to ward off police and snipers peering through bank windows. At 2:30 pm he decided to release his two hostages.

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

Meanwhile, the bolsters are prying open in the basement using special cannons. Deposit the box as soon as possible.

"I didn't stop to see what was inside, whether it actually opened, etc.," says Bolster. "Just break, break, break all the locks."

After two hours, they cracked open his 143 boxes and it was time to escape. Seranes told authorities he was ready to give up.

"Bring me some pizza, bring me a soda. I'll surrender with a little food," Sellanes recalled telling the negotiator. He knew they were out of the building by the time the troops entered.

The robbers demanded the police to give them pizza and they would surrender.
AFP via Getty Images

The robbers doused the entire bank with chlorine to cover the DNA. , with random locks of hair around to ward off crime scene investigators. They then escaped into tunnels and sewers without a trace.

There he had two small boats, one with a motor. But the motor wouldn't start, so the men had to paddle through sewers to reach her van 14 blocks away. Araujo lay sprawled on the booty in one of his boats and secured it.

They safely boarded the van and made their way to the safety of their homes. The cop was not smart.

Police surrounded the bank during the heist. They negotiated with the robbers.
Via Getty Images He confirmed on AFP

TV that they were not late Please,” Araujo says in the film. "We had money far away."

The men distributed the money evenly and parted.

Seranes says he drove off with "he had four garbage bags full of cash."

Authorities were at first embarrassed by the breakout. They didn't even realize the gang had gone through the tunnel until the banker found out of place furniture covering the hole.

It was a high tension situation in Argentina when a bank was robbed and hostages were taken in 2006.
AFP via Getty Images

in which they booby trap and his Araujo I found a note from In Spanish, "In a wealthy neighborhood, there are no weapons, no grudges. It's just money, not love."

It was a picture-perfect job. The shooting was extensive, the police had no clue, and no one was injured. Araujo and his Co. appeared to escape the robbery of the century and enjoy its wealth in peace.

One Loose End

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

Robber Beto I realized something was wrong.

"One day [I got home] and I realized that my [hidden] bag was nowhere to be found," he says in the film. "I saw that the pile of money was considerably reduced."

His wife, Alicia Di Turio, allegedly looted about $300,000 and a bond from Beto without asking permission. admitted to him.

Alicia Di Tullio led to the arrest of Rio Bank culprits.
Alicia Di Turio has arrested the Rio Bank culprit.

Two people who have been married for 18 years had a big fight. Bet immediately demanded that he take back what he had taken, and left home with the rest of the booty. Furious, Di Turro called the police and handed over her husband.

The men realized that their perfect plan had gone awry. Serranes recalls Doc calling him in desperation.

Seranes answered. I'm not going to give her anything. Let Beth settle everything with her and leave me out of it.

But Beth could not fix what his wife had done.

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

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

"She told us that she knew about the situation...for the purposes of this incident we tell you what happened between [Beto and Di Turio]. There is no evidence that would allow that," District Attorney Gaston Galvaz said in the film. "It feels like it has to do with cash. Not that it was provoked by the presence of another woman."

Admitted. "She cared more than her family. That was the tragic end of my story. I think of everyone, too," he said.

In 2010, Beto was sentenced to 15 years for her, Araujo to 14 years for her, Zaro Echeveria to 10 years for her, and Bolster to 9 years for her.Seranes agreed to another speedy trial and was sentenced to 14 years in prison not only for robbery, but for various other crimes he was found to be involved in around that time. Doc and his child were never caught.

A happy ending for all.

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

Judgment is over, all Breaking free, he was celebrated for his infamous robbery.

"Suddenly, some people idolized this and saw it as something out of the ordinary," he says Araujo.

Araujo says their story has a happy ending.

``Everyone who played a role in this story won. I got more than I expected,” he says.

In the documentary, several men implied that much of the cash and valuables they had acquired were never recovered.

"Everyone's curiosity, wow... where is [the rest of the booty]? It's in the Cayman Islands. You might as well write down CBU [account] number 24." Araujo said. I say it with sarcasm.