Longform

Pain & Gain, Part 3

UPDATE: In 2013, director Michael Bay released an adaptation of this three-part series. That same year, New Times revisited Pain & Gain and tracked down what's become of the Sun Gym Gang two decades later.

Golden Beach millionaire Frank Griga thought he was getting into a lucrative overseas investment deal when he agreed to meet with Daniel Lugo and Adrian Doorbal. He didn't know they actually were a couple of bodybuilding thugs who planned to steal everything he owned. Now Griga is dead, his girlfriend near death. And the Sun Gym gang is in despair. This is the second torture-for-profit kidnapping they've botched. There are bodies to dispose of, evidence to conceal. And too many people are asking questions.


May 24, 1995

It was after 9:00 p.m. when the phone rang. Jorge Delgado had been waiting for the call that would tell him the meeting at Don Shula's Steak House in Miami Lakes was going according to plan, and that two new victims -- Frank Griga and his live-in girlfriend Krisztina Furton -- were being wined and dined and prepped for their final journey. Daniel Lugo was on the line: Did Delgado know how to drive a Lamborghini? Delgado wasn't sure. Well, be ready; we may need your help in the morning.

Pretty soon, he figured, his Sun Gym pals -- Lugo and Doorbal -- and their dinner guests would be ordering from the menu. Later the foursome would drive from the restaurant to Doorbal's nearby townhouse, ostensibly to put final signatures on Griga's investment in the South Asia telecom deal. He wouldn't know it was all bogus until the very last instant, when they'd grab him. Then he and the girl would be bound and gagged and readied for transfer to the warehouse in Hialeah. Once the guys got the couple there, the rest would be easy, just as it should have been with Miami businessman Marc Schiller: Beat and torture them until they signed over everything they owned -- and then, of course, find a way to make their deaths appear accidental.

See also: Pain & Gain, From New Times Story to Michael Bay Film | Pain & Gain: Where the Real-Life Sun Gym Gang Characters Are Now

When Delgado's phone finally rang the next morning, it was Lugo again. But he had awful news. There'd been a struggle at Doorbal's place. Griga was already dead. The girl was unconscious; they had her shot full of Rompun, a horse tranquilizer, to keep her quiet. Things couldn't be worse. Schiller somehow had survived their attempts to murder him and was coming after his assets they'd stolen. God, he hated Schiller! And now they had one corpse, maybe another on the way, and not a dime to show for it.

Delgado raced to the townhouse to help with damage control. The temperature was the first thing he noticed. The place was as cold as a meat locker; it was the air conditioner going full blast. From the entry he watched as Doorbal, bundled like an Eskimo, came downstairs with a woman slung over his shoulder: the girlfriend. Her mouth, wrists, and ankles were bound with duct tape. She was unconscious.

Griga, whose money they'd targeted, lay dead in a bathtub. Well, at least they had the girl. Of course they'd have to kill her, a witness to the murder and all, but she could give them information first. Like the alarm code to the couple's Golden Beach waterfront mansion. Doorbal dropped her at the foot of the stairs and she started to come to. They pulled back the tape from her mouth, but immediately she became hysterical. Where's Frank? I ve got to see Frank! The last thing she'd seen was the blood-splattered bedroom, her lover's smashed skull, and Doorbal strangling him in a headlock.

Lugo ordered another shot of the tranquilizer, and Doorbal injected her in the ankle. Krisztina screamed in pain. They yanked her up into a sitting position and began to press her for answers. What's the security code? What are the numbers? She didn't understand. She needed to see Frank. Look, Frank's fine, they said, she'd see him soon. But first they had to get into the house. Poor Krisztina spoke mainly Magyar, the language of her native Hungary. She knew little English. Dazed and delirious, she was now incoherent in any language. The Rompun made her thirsty, made it hard to talk. She could scarcely breathe. Her heart rate was slow and weak. They made her swallow water; they slapped her to get her focused. In halting, slurred speech, she recited some numbers. Lugo wrote them down on a yellow legal pad.



Again Doorbal pulled out the vial of tranquilizer and the hypodermic, performed some deft mental calculations of Krisztina's body weight, drew the clear fluid into the syringe, jerked up her skirt, and stuck the needle into her thigh. He pressed down on the plunger, and after a short wail she grew quiet again.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Pete Collins