Pain & Gain, Part 2

Miami's Sun Gym gang developed a taste for blood and money. The police could have stopped them before they killed somebody. But they didn't.

When Judi Bartusz got home, she unleashed her dog and went to talk to her husband. She told him she'd stopped in at Griga's just as the couple was leaving on a dinner date. She thought Frank seemed nervous, and she didn't like his new partners, Adrian and Danny.

"What's wrong with them?" asked Gabor.

"I'm not sure why," said Judi, "but Frank wasn't the same. I think Frank is in a world of trouble."

Penthouse model Sabina Petrescu, just before she lost her innocence
Penthouse model Sabina Petrescu, just before she lost her innocence
Daniel Lugo: An uncanny mixture of brains and brawn not always under control
Daniel Lugo: An uncanny mixture of brains and brawn not always under control

Hungarian businessman Frank Griga and his girlfriend Krisztina Furton were not so fortunate as Marc Schiller. Shula's was closed by the time they arrived, so the party moved to Doorbal's Main Street townhouse apartment, one flight of stairs above Ritchie Swimwear, a bikini shop.

As Lugo and Furton watched television on Schiller's 50-inch Mitsubishi, Doorbal and Griga walked into another room to talk business. Soon, though, even Schiller's SurroundSound speakers couldn't muffle the discordant noises rising from the next room. A fierce argument was under way. Then loud crashing noises. Lugo and Krisztina rushed in and found the two men in a vicious fight. Blood was running down Griga's head where he'd been smashed above the ear with a hard, blunt object. Krisztina glanced around the room. Blood splattered the computer screen and the sliding glass doors. There was blood on the walls. It was all Griga's.

As she watched in horror, Doorbal took her lover in a headlock and proceeded to strangle him. She screamed. Lugo clamped a hand over her mouth and tackled her. She was handcuffed and her feet bound with duct tape. They wrapped the tape over her eyes and mouth as well. Then Doorbal injected her with Rompun. Within moments she was unconscious. They pulled a ninja hood down over her head. For good measure they gave Griga a hefty squirt of Rompun, too.

Targets apprehended. Mission accomplished at last!

After taking a breather and surveying the messy scene, Lugo and Doorbal checked on their prize catch, the man who would soon be hauled off to a warehouse where he would gently be persuaded to provide them with untold riches; the man who, along with his luckless girlfriend, would also be dead before long.

To their everlasting disappointment they discovered they'd overdone it: Griga was dying. And they hadn't gotten a single penny out of him. They'd taken everything from Schiller but couldn't kill him. Maybe someday they'd get it right.

At the moment, though, they had Krisztina, and she was alive. Eventually, of course, they'd have to kill her too, a witness to her boyfriend's murder and all. But first they wanted information about the house, particularly the front-door keypad numbers.

In the meantime Griga presented a disposal problem. They dumped him into Doorbal's bathtub as the rest of his blood drained out in a spiral.

Two miles away Jorge Delgado waited at home for a phone call. He was supposed to assist Lugo and Doorbal once they subdued Griga and Krisztina, then help transport the couple to Lugo's warehouse for a preliminary round of torture and extortion, just as they'd done with Marc Schiller. But the phone never rang, so he went to bed.

Sabina woke up sometime in the night and realized Lugo hadn't returned home from his dinner with the "bad Hungarian man and his girlfriend." She got up and found her secret agent man on the living-room couch. He was drinking in the darkness and crying softly. Doorbal had done "something crazy," he moaned.

Sabina asked if the man and woman were still alive.

Lugo turned to face her. "Do you really want to know, Sabina?" he said. She'd never heard that tone before. He stared into her blue eyes. "Are you sure you really want to know?"

Information for this story was drawn from interviews with principal characters, investigative reports, court documents, and trial testimony. Next week: The Sun Gym gang must dispose of the bodies; a quickie wedding and an alibi could save the day; and kidnap victim Marc Schiller returns to Miami and gets far more than he bargained for.

Continue reading: Pain & Gain, Part Three.

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