By Chris Joseph
By Chris Joseph
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Chris Joseph
By Chris Joseph
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
They juiced harder than Mark McGwire, pumped iron faster than a Lamborghini Diablo's pistons, and made it rain on more strippers than Juicy J at King of Diamonds. To finance their voracious appetites, they became experts in the dark arts of kidnapping, torture, extortion, and murder.
One of their victims survived a month of sleep deprivation, Taser jolts, lighter burns, and even the coup de grâce: three days of waterboarding with sleeping pills and booze before being strapped into a blazing car. Two other victims weren't so lucky, ending up murdered and chopped to pieces with chainsaws, their body parts tossed into the Everglades.
They were the Sun Gym Gang, and even by Magic City standards, their macabre exploits were difficult to stomach. Yet their incredible story almost went untold. Crime reporter Pete Collins couldn't find any takers for his book about the bloody spree until he pitched the tale to our sister paper Miami New Times, which ran it in three installments between December 1999 and January 2000. "Pain & Gain" turned into one of the most widely read yarns in the paper's 26-year history.
The tale of the Sun Gym Gang documented one of the most brutal acts of violence in Miami history. It was the longest, most expensive case ever tried by the State Attorney's Office. More than 22 search warrants were issued. One hundred-plus witnesses were called to the stand. And 10,000 pieces of evidence were presented. The jury was sworn in on February 20, 1998, and didn't begin deliberations until four months later. It was a tome so diabolically cinematic that it's about to become the first New Times piece to grace the silver screen. Blockbuster director Michael Bay, who lives in Miami, read the series and decided to transform it into a pitch-dark comedy. His adaptation, starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, hits theaters April 26.
Before Pain & Gain hits cinemas across the country, New Times tracked down the characters who made the true story so unforgettable. Here is what's become of them two decades after the Sun Gym Gang's infamous bloodbath.
Trailer for Michael Bay's Pain & Gain:
Name: Daniel Lugo
Played by: Mark Wahlberg
Key description in the original story: "They were incredibly strong, with muscles developed to almost monstrous proportions. Lugo had a broad forehead, brilliant smile, and dark-stubbled jaw. He possessed tremendous charm and a great deal of money: a million already from an old Medicare fraud scheme and now all of [Marc] Schiller's assets."
Real-life role: Sun Gym Gang mastermind
A New York native with a smooth tongue and a disarming smile, Lugo was fresh from serving a 15-month federal prison stint for fraud when he landed at Sun Gym in 1992. He'd earned his prison time by snookering $71,200 from people who believed he could get loans from a Hong Kong bank. The bank never existed, and Lugo ran off with the cash.
At Sun Gym, a hard-core bodybuilder joint just north of Miami Lakes, Lugo quickly worked his way up to manager. He also recruited a gang of none-too-bright gym rats — led by a sadistic Trinidadian named Adrian Doorbal — to pull off a pair of brazen heists: abducting Schiller, a wealthy businessman, and six months later, kidnapping Frank Griga, a phone-sex-line millionaire, and his girlfriend, Krisztina Furton.
"Lugo was a smart-ass criminal," opines Ed Du Bois, the private investigator who helped take down the gang. "He was the brains. He wasn't some brute street guy."
Yet Lugo's plans were far from perfect. The Sun Gym Gang did manage to abduct Schiller and then tortured him for nearly a month in a Hialeah warehouse. They stole his $1.26 million offshore bank account and his $300,000 Old Cutler Road house and even changed his life insurance to benefit the gang. However, Schiller survived their torture and the bumbling, brutal, final attempt on his life.
That didn't stop the Sun Gym Gang from trying again with Griga and his girlfriend, snatching the pair during a business meeting. This time, everything went wrong. When Griga fought back, Doorbal bashed in his head. Furton was lethally dosed with horse tranquilizers. Lugo bought chainsaws and hatchets and helped Doorbal dismember the couple, chopping off their hands and feet, peeling back their faces, and ripping their teeth from their skulls to make identification impossible.
When Metro-Dade homicide detectives finally got warrants for Lugo, Doorbal, and their minions in June 1995, the mastermind fled to the Bahamas with his stripper mistress and his parents. His Caribbean escape didn't last long. On June 9, a multiagency task force flew to Nassau, arrested Lugo, and brought him back to Miami. The following day, Lugo agreed to take investigators to the bodies if cops would mention his cooperation in court. But Lugo had one more trick up his sleeve. He led them only to the bodies — not to the hands, feet, or heads.
He was convicted of racketeering, first-degree murder, kidnapping, extortion, arson, burglary, robbery, grand theft, and forgery on June 2, 1998.
Current status: On death row for the murders of Griga and Furton
Lugo has been in prison since August 1998. These days, he's living at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, a small town in north-central Florida, where he's been desperately trying to avoid execution, filing a series of appeals starting in September 1998. (The state Supreme Court shot that one down six years later.) In October 2004, Lugo asked for a new trial, claiming that one of the jurors failed to disclose he'd been a victim of violent crime and that his attorneys failed to find character witnesses. The palooka even alleged the Bahamian Police violated the Vienna Convention.
That same year, Lugo's wife divorced him and won sole custody of their two daughters. He also spent 30 days in solitary confinement for disrespecting prison officials.
In 2005, Lugo won a hearing to present testimony from his mom, his sister, an ex-girlfriend, and his former football coaches. One pal, a former prosecutor who was Lugo's teammate on the Fordham University football team, described the killer as "honest, trustworthy, ethical, and nonviolent" — though he later admitted he'd barely talked to him since 1982. The court denied Lugo's request.
Don't knock Lugo's hustle, though. In January 2010, he filed a last-gasp appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. His petition is still pending. Even if Lugo improbably avoids a lethal injection, he would still have to serve five life sentences, plus more than 300 years.
Lugo is now 49. He has not aged well. His newest mug shot shows the former bodybuilder with deep bags under his eyes and an emaciated, wrinkled face.
Name: Adrian Noel Doorbal
Played by: Anthony Mackie
Key description: "Although Doorbal was shorter than Lugo, he too had the build of a professional weightlifter, his muscle striations enhanced by his dark skin. He sported a thick head of wavy black hair that fell almost to his waist. Indeed Lugo's sidekick from Trinidad resembled some carved Caribbean virility god."
Real-life role: Lugo's cold-blooded right-hand man.
Doorbal was Darth Maul to Lugo's Darth Sidious. A dark-skinned Adonis, he suffered bouts of impotency from his chronic steroid abuse. He met his gym-rat buddy through his cousin, and Lugo soon hired Doorbal to work part-time at Sun Gym. On the side, he cut him in on a lucrative Medicare scam, netting $1 million for both of them.
While Lugo was the brains, Doorbal was the cold-hearted brawn. When the Sun Gym Gang held Schiller captive inside a Hialeah warehouse, Doorbal gleefully scorched him with a lighter. Blindfolded and chained to a wall, Schiller recalls Doorbal softly whispering in his ear "fire, fire" before he felt a hot flame cooking his arms. When the crew learned Schiller had survived the assassination attempt and was recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Doorbal offered to sneak into his room and strangle him.
"Doorbal just loved violence," Schiller says today. "He enjoyed what he was doing to me. He is the kind of guy you'd imagine had fun killing cats and dogs as a kid."
His brutality only got worse with Griga and Furton. Doorbal crushed Griga's skull with a blunt object, strangled him, and finished him off with a horse tranquilizer. He also injected Furton with lethal doses of the trank. Then Doorbal used a chainsaw and a hatchet to dismember their bodies.
He was so chill about the brutal crimes that he enlisted his new fiancée to help him scrub the blood off his condo's walls. When police finally arrested him on June 2, 1995, at his Miami Lakes apartment, he admitted his part in Schiller's abduction, then stopped talking. His last comment to detectives: "I'll never see daylight again."
Current status: On death row for the murders Griga and Furton
Like Lugo, Doorbal was sent to state prison on August 31, 1998, one month after he was sentenced to die for killing the Hungarian-born couple. He filed his first appeal with the Florida Supreme Court on February 8, 1999, claiming that police lacked probable cause. The state's high court denied his petition four years later. In June 2004, he requested a new trial but was again denied. His last appeal failed on November 2009. The only way Doorbal can avoid execution now is through a governor's pardon.
Between all his appeals, Doorbal has found time to make friends in online messageboards like prisontalk.com. Though he was tossed in solitary for 30 days in 2005 for abusing his email privileges, he hasn't stopped looking for new pals.
Now 41, Doorbal has retained his boyish good looks, though his signature black mane has been replaced by a clean bald dome. According to his profile on askaconvict.com, he's "like a guy you meet in line at Starbucks" and "still works out regularly five to six days a week."
Two months ago, Doorbal signed up at writeaprisoner.com, writing that "nothing is more important to me than relationships, friendships, and the people in my life."
Doorbal adds, "I'll be a great friend, honest, truthful and always there if you need me. I'll be waiting for you."
Name: Jorge Delgado
Played by: Not depicted in the movie
Key description: "In 1991 Delgado had to quit his job as a car salesman. His wife, Linda, who worked for Schiller in his M.S.S. Accounting Services office in West Dade, cried as she described to her boss the couple's perilous finances. A sympathetic Schiller offered the Havana-born Delgado a job... All in all Delgado had profited immensely from the relationship. A few years earlier, he and his wife were living with her parents. Now he had a nice house north of Miami Lakes."
Real-life role: Sun Gym Gang turncoat
Unlike Lugo and Doorbal, Delgado was a tall, thin man with a meek demeanor. He'd used Schiller's sympathy to get work as his gofer and later became one of Lugo's clients at Sun Gym. The two became best buddies, even though Schiller had warned him to avoid Lugo. Eventually, Delgado persuaded his gym partner to go after his former boss because Schiller had supposedly "stolen" $300,000 from them in a business deal.
When Lugo's goons finally nabbed Schiller, they took him to Delgado's Hialeah warehouse, where Delgado helped shake him down and plotted his attempted murder. Later, Schiller knew Lugo and Delgado were going to kill the Hungarian couple and even helped his two comrades dispose of the bodies.
"Delgado was meek," Schiller says. "He wouldn't hurt a fly, and then all of a sudden he is plotting murders."
When the dominoes started to fall, though, Delgado was the first to squeal. He confessed his role in 1996 and, in turn, received just 15 years. Prosecutors gave him a sweetheart deal because they needed his testimony, and they couldn't prove he participated in killing the Hungarians. He told the court how Lugo and Doorbal had admitted to murdering and dismembering Griga and Furton.
Current status: Free as a swallow-tailed kite soaring over the Everglades
On September 27, 2002, Delgado was released from the Everglades Correctional Institution in West Dade a year after his wife, Linda, divorced him. He served only seven years in all.
But Delgado didn't turn his life around. In 2008, three days before Christmas, Delgado was arrested for felony grand theft. He walked into a Kmart store on SW Eighth Street and 123rd Avenue, where he attempted to return $7,512 worth of stolen merchandise. He pleaded guilty and received a year of probation.
On July 17, 2011, Delgado married a woman named Jocelyn Rosado Nuñez. They live in a three-bedroom residence in southwest Miami-Dade owned by his parents. Delgado did not respond to a letter mailed to his home requesting comment. He also did not return messages left with his mother and father, who live five minutes from their son.
Name: Marc Schiller
Played by: Tony Shalhoub (portraying "Victor Kershaw," a composite of Schiller and Griga)
Key description: "Schiller was thin but otherwise a physically unremarkable man, except for a deep burgundy notch on his nose, a souvenir of the duct tape that had been wrapped so tightly around his head during his captivity. Schiller was invigorated by the decision to go to the police. But he also was wary, afraid he might die in Miami."
Real-life role: Sun Gym Gang's first victim
When the Sun Gym Gang targeted him, Schiller's Schlotzsky's Deli franchise near the airport was failing. But he still had a seven-figure bank account thanks to his nutritional-supplements companies. The businessman lived on Old Cutler Road with his wife and two children in a two-story house with a pool. He'd taken Delgado under his wing but later had a falling-out over his friendship with Lugo.
"I never trusted Lugo," Schiller says. "I told Delgado that Lugo would get him in trouble one day. Little did I know the trouble would involve me."
It took the gang six bumbling tries to abduct Schiller — including one bizarre episode involving ninja costumes — but on the morning of November 14, 1994, they finally got him outside of Schlotszky's. They bagged his head, Tasered him, and threw him into the back of a van. Inside his former buddy Delgado's warehouse, Schiller was beaten, pistol-whipped, burned, and subjected to games of Russian roulette. They forced him to call his friends with a story about falling for a young mistress and fleeing town and to call his family and tell them to hide out in Colombia. Meanwhile, they made him sign away all his assets. When they got all they could, the gang ordered him to wash down sleeping pills with a fountain of liquor, put him behind the wheel of his Toyota 4Runner — which they set on fire — and then rammed him into a utility pole.
When Schiller staggered out of the flaming car alive, the gang ran him over — twice! — with a Camry. Still, he lived.
Four years later, on May 27, 1998, Schiller returned to Miami to testify against his tormentors. His schadenfreude was short-lived, though. As he left the courthouse, Schiller was arrested by federal agents on charges of orchestrating a Medicare billing scheme through his nutritional companies.
Current status: Employed as an accountant in Boca Raton. Schiller also self-published his memoir, called Pain & Gain: The Untold Story.
Adding insult to the injury of being busted by the feds, Delgado was among the witnesses who testified against Schiller. On March 17, 1999, Schiller pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government and got nailed with 46 months in prison and a $14.6 million bill. (Two years after Schiller's conviction, U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold set aside Schiller's restitution and ordered him to pay back only $128,597.87 from the proceeds of a life insurance policy he had.)
Schiller, who got out of prison in 2001, maintains he was innocent, noting the main witness against him was Delgado, the same man who wanted him dead. "I was never tried or convicted by a jury," he says. "I just threw in the towel. I had no fight in me."
After being released, Schiller couldn't land a job because he'd lost his CPA license. So he worked part-time for his brother for a while and then spent a year on a vending machine route. By 2002, Schiller regained his CPA license. "I work 11 hours a day making 20 bucks an hour," he says.
In the meantime, Schiller finished his memoir. He found out about the Pain & Gain film only last year, when one of his bosses brought it to his attention.
Originally the character played by Shalhoub was going to be named after him and he was supposed to have a cameo role as a detective, Schiller claims. But both fell through. "They kept me at a distance," he says.
From the trailer he's watched, Schiller says, Shalhoub's brash character is all wrong. "There is no resemblance to me at all," he says. "I was always a humble, family person."
As interest in the Sun Gym Gang case has gained traction, major news outlets have knocked on Schiller's door seeking to retell his story. He's been interviewed by ABC's 20/20 and CBS' 48 Hours, though he wasn't happy with either news report, which he feels portrayed him as a lowlife scoundrel who deserved his torture.
"To me, the story was about my survival," he says. "I don't understand why they want to make me look like a bad guy."
Name: Szuszanna Griga
Played by: Not depicted in the movie. Her brother, Frank, is part of Shalhoub's composite character
Key description: "Griga began to collect luxury automobiles, among them a $200,000 royal blue Vector, a rare, handmade, experimental sports car; a Dodge Stealth for running errands; and the Lamborghini Diablo... His girlfriends were beautiful, as sensual and sculpted as the cars he owned. He preferred babes, some of them strippers, and after he and Beatriz had parted ways, she introduced him to Krisztina Furton at Crazy Horse II, a Fort Lauderdale strip joint. The two quickly fell in love and became inseparable."
Real-life role: Griga's sister
Born in Berlin in 1961, Frank Griga emigrated to New York City in the mid-'80s, toiling as a car washer, then as a foreign-car mechanic. After moving to Miami in 1988, he landed a gig selling luxury rides at North Miami Beach's Prestige Imports. He yearned to own the Lotuses and Ferraris. Soon, he found his calling card, literally. He joined a group of investors in the 800- and 900-number markets and made a fortune on sex lines. In 1994 alone, Frank and his partners took in 3 million bucks.
"My brother left Communist Hungary when he was 21," Szuszanna said in a recent phone interview. "He built his business from the ground up. He was the personification of the American dream."
He bought himself a $700,000 waterfront mansion in Golden Beach and a yacht called Foreplay. And he began collecting his own exotic toys, like his $200,000 royal-blue Vector. Those expensive tastes led to his downfall, though. Doorbal's girlfriend, who knew Griga through her strip-club job, showed the hood a photo of the businessman with his Lambo. That's how the gang found its final mark.
On May 27, 1995, after several aborted attempts to snatch Griga, Lugo and Doorbal lured him and Furton to Shula's Steak House under the pretense of a business deal. The restaurant was closed, so the goons brought the couple back to Doorbal's apartment, where Frank and Krisztina spent their final moments in agonizing terror.
More than a week later, Szuszanna got a call from Dade County detectives confirming they'd found the hacked-up bodies of her brother and his girlfriend. Immediately she flew from Budapest. The 54-year-old karmic astrologer sat through every agonizing day of the Sun Gym Gang's four-month trial. She also testified at the sentencing hearings for Lugo and Doorbal.
"It's not a crime to enjoy life," Szuszanna says. "No one deserves to be murdered just because he drives nice cars and has a beautiful girlfriend."
Current status: Griga lives in Budapest, Hungary, occasionally returning to Aventura, where she owns a condo.
After Lugo and Doorbal were convicted, Szuszanna sold her sibling's opulent estate for $895,000. Frank's sister lives in Budapest with their 91-year-old mother but has returned for all of Lugo's and Doorbal's appeal hearings. "They continue coming up with nonsense to escape what's coming to them," Szuszanna grouses.
As far as the movie, Szuszanna is already panning it. She's appalled the movie is a dark comedy that portrays Lugo and Doorbal as antiheroes who go after a scumbag.
"To show these killers as a couple of funny, nice guys who made a couple of blunders is indecent," she says. "The movie is going to glorify what they did. It's ridiculous."
Name: Ed Du Bois
Played by: Ed Harris
Key description: "Ed Du Bois became a mere spectator to the grisly findings. He felt some relief that Lugo, Delgado, and Doorbal were in custody, but the institutional cynicism that thwarted a true investigation into Schiller's kidnapping filled him with ire. Why did Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton have to pay such a terrible price? Why hadn't the police taken him seriously? 'How does it feel,' he scornfully quizzed one investigator, 'to have blood on your hands?' "
Real-life role: Private investigator hired by Schiller to bust the Sun Gym Gang
On December 16, 1994, Ed Du Bois was busy working as the National Football League's South Florida investigator and security consultant. A third-generation P.I., Du Bois owns the oldest agency in Florida. As Du Bois worked that morning analyzing security for the upcoming Super Bowl at Joe Robbie Stadium, his phone rang. It was Schiller, desperate and terrified, recounting the gang's grisly deeds from a hospital bed.
After heeding Du Bois' advice to split Miami, Schiller hired the private investigator to go after the gang. Du Bois, who was initially skeptical of the outlandish tale, quickly realized Schiller was telling the truth. He collected reams of evidence and went to the Miami-Dade Police. Despite all the leads, though, the cops dropped the case — at least until the Sun Gym Gang killed again. Du Bois later testified about his role in the case during Lugo's and Doorbal's trials.
Current status: Still pounding the private-eye beat
When Lugo, Doorbal, Delgado, and nine accomplices were arrested, Du Bois pitched author Collins the idea of writing a book about the Sun Gym Gang. Collins took on the assignment, but even with the story published in New Times, a deal never materialized. Then in 2012, Du Bois received a call from Collins that Bay was going to make Pain & Gain.
"I was just glad that someone was finally doing it," he affirms.
Du Bois hasn't read the script, but he has a cameo role. "I know as much about as it as you do," Du Bois says.
The P.I. got to reconnect with his former client when shooting began in mid-2012. Du Bois and Schiller had not seen each other since the latter went to prison in 1999, but they reignited their friendship when the movie's producers asked his help in tracking Marc down. "He's a hero," Du Bois says of Schiller. "He took the stand against these demons after everything they put him through."
The 66-year-old Du Bois has no plans to retire. He is still the NFL's investigator and security consultant. With his agency, he runs everything from run-of-the-mill tails on philandering spouses to sophisticated investigations into white-collar crimes.
And to unwind, the private eye pens his own blues music. With all the hype around the film, Du Bois wanted to leave his mark on the twisted tale. So he composed "Pain & Gain — Retribution Song." He played a rough cut for Clay Ostwald, a former Miami Sound Machine musician, and Tommy Anthony, a guitarist for Santana. "Both of them loved it and joined me on the final recording," says Du Bois, who's selling the cut on iTunes and CD Baby.
Name: Pete Collins
Played by: Not in the movie but gets an onscreen credit for writing the tale
Real-life role: Former Miami New Times writer who penned the Sun Gym Gang's story
Collins was out on his daily jog one morning in Miami Shores when Du Bois stopped him. "Pete, I got this great idea for a story," Du Bois recollects.
It didn't hurt that after leaving New Times in 1990, Collins had entered a master's degree writing program and was looking for a thesis. The two men agreed to collaborate. For about a year-and-a-half before the trial began, Collins banged out drafts based on reams of court documents. Collins later pitched the tale as a 30,000-word story to New Times editors, who bought it.
"The reason some publishers and producers initially hesitated was because they thought the story lacked a true hero," Collins says. "People died, and the story ended tragically — not your typical happy Hollywood ending."
Current status: Collins resides in Orlando, where he is finishing his book on the Sun Gym Gang.
One year after his feature was published in New Times, Collins negotiated a deal with Paramount Pictures. "It was Michael [Bay] who saw the Fargo and Pulp Fiction-esque qualities of the tale," Collins says. "I didn't quite believe it until I saw the headline in Variety magazine announcing Paramount purchased my story."
But rather than make the quirky comedy, the studio wanted Bay to concentrate on blockbusters like the Transformers franchise. So the director blackmailed Paramount. "Michael worked out a deal with Paramount that he would do this before he did another Transformers film," Ian Bryce, one of the films' two producers, told New Times in April 2012.
In early 2012, Collins got a call from the other producer, Donald De Line. The writer landed a contract as a consultant to the screenwriting team. Collins was invited on set and talked to actors about their characters. His name is plastered on movie posters.
Today, Collins is wrapping up his ebook and working on two other projects, about another Miami true crime story and a memoir on growing up in '60s Dade. "I haven't seen the movie yet," Collins says. "But I can tell you it was a real thrill to be on the set of a major Hollywood movie that I wrote, filmed within blocks of my childhood home in El Portal. That was surreal."
Place: Sun Gym, 6135 NW 167th St., Ste. 14, Miami Lakes
Depicted by: A big-windowed building at NE 79th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, Miami
Key description: "Just north of Miami Lakes, Sun Gym was a serious bodybuilder's hangout, run under the watchful eye of Daniel Lugo, its charismatic, fast-talking manager. Anyone could join, of course, but if you were soft and puffy, you were way out of your league here. Sun Gym's favored lads were thick and ripped. This was not a place for weekend warriors."
Real-life role: The locale where Lugo, Doorbal, and their cohorts pumped iron
Sun Gym opened in January 1987 as the spot where professional bodybuilders competing in Miami came to bulk up. Owned by Miami accountant and former Mr. United Kingdom John Mese, Sun Gym was not the type of place where dudes went to pick up honeys. Located in a plain tan warehouse with no AC, Sun Gym was for true muscleheads only. Mese hired Lugo and Doorbal to run the place and train customers, and Lugo came up with his plans to knock over Schiller and Griga between scarfing down power bars, juicing up with steroids, and flexing weights inside.
Current status: Perfume wholesale warehouse
The physique palace shuttered its doors in August 1995 following Mese's arrest on kidnapping, money-laundering, and attempted-murder charges. Du Bois' deft sleuthing showed that Mese had been in on the plot to snatch and kill Schiller. He was convicted and sentenced to 56 years and died from a stroke in prison in 2004.
Today, dark tint covers the glass door that used to be the entrance to Sun Gym. There are no signs indicating what type of business now resides inside. After a reporter rings the doorbell, a young brunet with fair skin opens the door. She declines to provide her name but explains that the space is now occupied by a perfume wholesale company called Oni Essence. "We've been here for two, three years," she says. "The owners are out of town for three weeks, so I can't really comment."
Place: Delgado's Hialeah warehouse, 2248 W. 77th St., Hialeah
Depicted by: Studio set
Key description: "Pulling off the street to the warehouse, he couldn't believe his eyes: There was Lugo, standing over a burning barrel. He had carried outside a metal drum, placed the iron grate on top, tossed on hands, feet, and various skull portions, splashed some gasoline around, and started a fire. Occasionally he bent down and torched the remains with a jet of propane flames. He might as well have been at a back-yard barbecue!"
Real-life role: Site where Schiller was tortured and the Hungarian couple was quartered with chainsaws
After using Delgado's warehouse as a torture den for Schiller, the Sun Gym Gang turned the place into a scene out of Rob Zombie's darkest nightmares after murdering Griga and Furton. On May 26, 1995, Doorbal donned sweatpants, rubber boots, leather gloves, and clear goggles. He fired up an electric chainsaw and sliced off the hands, feet, and heads, then plucked their eyeballs and teeth, all while a river of gore splattered the floors.
Current status: Home of Nuuva Cookies & Cakes
Augustin Ricart walks through a freezer, showing off rows of deliciously sinful chocolate-mousse cakes. A chubby Argentine with short, receding black hair, Ricart stops in front of an oven. "This is where we burn the bodies," he jokes.
At first, he doesn't believe what once happened in his building. Eighteen years ago, a reporter tells him, the Sun Gym gang beat, pistol-whipped, Tasered, burned, and starved Schiller, one of his fellow countrymen, into submission in this same space. "You're messing with me, right?" Ricart laughs. "You can't be serious."
Ricart's three bakers, a trio of Cuban-American men in their 20s with hard physiques bulging underneath their T-shirts, gather closer to listen to the rest of the tale.
An investor who specializes in turning around small businesses, Ricart bought the bakery eight months ago from a Colombian woman who was in financial trouble. "Had I known what happened in here, I don't think I would have bought it," Ricart says. "I don't like places with bad energy."
"Coño," one of the bakers barks. "We're gonna need to do a spiritual cleansing in here."