Netflix documentary tells the story of Pennsylvania’s “Evil Genius”

“Evil Genius” features the true story of America’s “most diabolical” bank heist. Photo from

Netflix recently released a new documentary called “Evil Genius: The Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist.” It’s a true story about a pizza delivery man by the name of Brian Wells, who walked into a bank and robbed it with a collar bomb around his neck and a cane gun. America had not seen anything like this before. It happened on Aug. 28 in 2003. What’s even crazier is that is happened right here in Pennsylvania, up north in Erie.

There are two separate things to talk about here: the actual event and the documentary. First, the event. Most of us here at Seton Hill were still pretty young, likely between the ages of four and eight, which means we likely don’t remember much about it. Some might not have even heard about the event.

The other reason is because this made national and world news. Although it was only one death, at first, it was still a big deal because nothing like this had ever happened before. A man walking into a bank with a bomb around his neck like a handcuff and then the bomb goes off. That is just crazy. A man died because of a neck bomb after robbing a bank, in real life. Not just some TV show plot. The question was, was he in on it or was he a hostage? You’ve got to watch to find out.

Second is the documentary as a series. Honestly, it was fantastic. Four episodes, three hours and 11 minutes of total run time. I watched it in one sitting. The majority of people I have talked to did as well. Once you start, you can’t stop. Trey Borzillieri, co-director, producer and investigator, followed the event from the start, documenting everything. It’s unreal to think about how it took about 15 years to finally get the full story and educate so many people on the event. Borzillieri was a huge help to getting the full truth of the event.

Lindsey Mifsud, a recent 2018 graduate from SHU, grew up in Erie, Pa. Mifsud was eight years old when the event happened.

“I remember everyone being very confused and thinking that Brian Wells had played a part in the heist,” said Mifsud. “It was the kind of story you saw in movies but never (for real) in your hometown.”

Trey Borzillieri, pictured above, co-directed the documentary series “Evil Genius” with writer Barbara Schroeder. Photo from

In regards to Mifsud’s understanding of the event at such a young age, it came easier for her because of how close she was to the event and also how long it took for everything to come out. And hear this, Mifsud’s older sister once had Bill Rothstein as a substitute teacher in high school, who was one of the main people of interest.

“She [Mifsud’s sister] said that he was a nice guy and all of her classmates were shocked to see his face on the news,” said Mifsud.

This documentary has opened up a whole other side of the story and did a fantastic job doing so. It was not boring for a single second.

“I think that the documentary was very well put together and even though it was a little over three hours, it went by very quickly,” Mifsud said. “It was informative and intriguing to see the development of the suspects of the course of many years. I’d give it a 10 out of 10 for its informative and unbiased nature on the topic.”

The documentary truly is great.

10 minutes. Just watch the first 10 minutes and I promise, you will be hooked for the next three hours.

It took some convincing, but I told my girlfriend to just give the documentary 10 minutes and after that I would turn it off. Once I turned it off she started yelling, “no, no, you can’t turn it off now!”

The documentary is a must watch; I haven’t seen a documentary like it. The pace is perfect and even though you think you know what’s going to happen, you don’t.

Austin’s Rating: 9.4/10

Published By: Stephen Dumnich

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