In the world of gym crimes, the actions of the Sun Gym Gang hold a special place as a truly sensational series of offenses. Whether murders committed while on steroids or failed kidnappings while dressed as ninjas, Sun Gym murder gang facts border on the unbelievable.
Daniel Lugo worked at Sun Gym in Miami, FL, in the early '90s. He would soon make friends with and recruit co-worker Adrian Noel Doorbal and client Jorge Delgado into a series of money-making schemes. They lived in image conscious Miami, fueled by steroids, and in need of money. In 1994, they kidnapped their first victim in an effort to extort everything he owned via torture. A year later, the trio tried their luck again with a Hungarian millionaire and his girlfriend, but this time ended up murderers.
Their criminal exploits led to a film from Michael Bay, entering the pantheon of movies based on real crimes with a divisive dark comedy that removed key players, fudged details, and left the perpetrators looking like bumbling fools and the victims like punchlines.
Daniel Lugo was an experienced con man, acting as the mastermind of a Medicare fraud scheme with his friend Adrian Doorbal. When Doorbal's client Jorge Delgado mentioned that he used to work for millionaire Marc Schiller, the three men decided to kidnap and coerce the millionaire into signing over all of his wealth, and then kill him.
After kidnapping Schiller in November of 1994, the gang kept him blindfolded in a warehouse owned by Delgado. Schiller sent his family out of the country for their protection and so the gang would have fewer obstacles to stealing his fortune. They tortured Schiller with burning his body with cigarettes, shocking him with tasers, waterboarding him, and keeping him awake for the entire time in captivity. What was expected to be a quick smash-and-grab job ended up lasting nearly a month as Schiller legally signed over everything he owned to the Sun Gym Gang.
In 1995, after their somewhat successful plan to extort Schiller, Doorbal's girlfriend told the gang about a Hungarian immigrant named Frank Griga that she knew from the strip club where she worked. Griga made a fortune in the phone sex business. Luga and the rest of the men plotted to lure Griga and his girlfriend Krisztina Furton out to dinner with them under the guise of a business proposal. They would then kidnap and extort money from them.
Things went off-plan when Griga fought back. The body builders, likely full of steroids, beat him to death and then murdered Furton with an overdose of horse tranquilizer. The men took the couple's bodies to the warehouse where the gang had tortured Schiller so they could dispose of them.
The men bought a chainsaw, but then returned it to Home Depot when it wasn't powerful enough to cut the bodies into pieces. After getting a tool strong enough for the job, they also peeled the skin from the victims' skulls, pulled teeth, and did everything they could to make sure the disposed body parts could not be identified. The body parts were placed in different containers before being dumped. Ultimately, some pieces of Furton's body were identified by checking the serial number on her breast implants.
Pete Collins of the Miami New Times wrote an intensive, three-part series about Lugo, Doorbal, and Delgado and their repugnant crimes in December of 1999. Collins's writing caught the eye of producer Michael Bay and the director used the articles as a rough outline for the 2013 movie Pain & Gain starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as steroid-fueled killers.
The film was met with criticism from officers that had worked on the case and the victims' families. The movie made a point of telling audiences that it was a true story, even though there were many tonal liberties taken. The killers were presented as idiots that had done something stupid because they were stupid. Many think the movie minimized the suffering of their victims and the seriousness of their crimes for taking a comedic approach to a story with grim real-world ramifications.
After holding Schiller for nearly a month and making him sign over his entire life and wealth, the Sun Gym Gang decided it was time to kill him and collect an insurance policy for his life. At that point, Lugo's ex-wife had been named as Schiller's beneficiary. The gang decided to get Schiller drunk and put him behind the wheel of a car to stage an accidental death. The captors forced Schiller to drink various types of alcohol for several days, and Lugo made him to take a handful of sleeping pills in addition to the alcohol on his last day of captivity.
On December 15, 1994, Lugo drove the captive in Schiller's own car to the desired crash spot. Lugo strapped him in the driver's seat before accelerating toward a concrete utility pole, leaping from he car just before impact. Upon inspection, the Sun Gym Gang found Schiller still alive but unconscious.
They poured gasoline all over Schiller and his car, setting it on fire. As the gang drove off, they looked back to see Schiller open the door and crawl from the burning wreckage. The men turned their car around to run Schiller over. After several attempts, the men hit Schiller, backed over him for good measure, and left the man for dead.
Despite their best efforts, he didn't die and hired a private investigator to work on his behalf.