On the afternoon of November 15 1994, Adrian Doorbal, a weightlifter with a penchant for extreme violence and a steroid habit that was playing havoc with his sex life, sat in the front seat of a rented van, waiting to abduct the millionaire owner of a Miami deli.
On paper it wasn’t a difficult job. Not only did Doorbal and his two accomplices outnumber their target – Marc Schiller – three-to-one; they were also armed with a gun and a shock-inducing Taser, which was capable of paralysing a person from a distance of 21ft. Despite these advantages, Doorbal was worried. This was, after all, the gang’s eighth attempt, the seventh having taken place just the day before, and one could be forgiven for wondering whether something was going seriously wrong in the planning stages of the operation. Two weeks previously, for example, their plan had been to dress up as ninjas on Hallowe’en and grab Schiller when he opened his door to what appeared to be a group of trick-or-treaters. Somehow this idea fell by the wayside and they ended up going to a strip club instead.
Then, a few days later, before dawn, they had donned camouflage paint and hidden in Schiller’s yard under some tarpaulin, ready to pounce when he came out to get his newspaper. But, again, the mission had to be cancelled when it suddenly dawned on them they would be exposed by the headlights of oncoming cars. So, today there could be no mistakes.
At first, everything seemed to go well. Just after 4pm, Schiller emerged from his deli and started walking towards his car. As he inserted his key in the lock, the gang grabbed him from behind and started bundling him towards the van.