Where is Bank Rio Heist Mastermind Fernando Araujo Now?

With Netflix’s ‘Bank Robbers: The Last Great Heist’ charting one of the most infamous Argentinian lootings from start to finish, we get a complete insight into the way it affected everyone involved. That’s because this radical 2006 operation was not only carried out in style (supposedly without any fireable weapons) but the actual haul from Acassuso’s Bank Rio was never recovered either. So now, if you wish to learn more about the admittedly proud mastermind behind it all — with a specific focus on his motive as well as his current standing — we’ve got the essential details for you.

Who is Fernando Araujo?

It was back in 2003 that Fernando was “the happiest man on Earth” upon taking a sabbatical to focus solely on art, whether it be plastic arts, martial arts, or cannabis arts, per the documentary. The Acassuso, San Isidro, native even had a small studio for the same, where he was extensively growing pure marijuana while also writing a book on its overall benefits and indoor cultivation. However, since the botched 1999 Ramallo heist turned massacre in his province was still in the back of his mind, he soon began contemplating the idea of robbing a bank with no adverse outcomes.

Fernando candidly admitted in the production that he has nothing against the system of capitalism — he just “wanted a small piece of the pie” — yet his motive came back to creating art as well. He genuinely believes children and art are the sole two transcendence of death, which is why he wished to truly explore the latter through every skill set required to execute a theft unlike any other. Hence came Project Donatello, named after ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ because they’re green like pot, are martial artists, and live underground (precisely the place Fernando’s plan took him).

The bohemian fighting sports instructor thus began utilizing his funds, educational training in electrical engineering, and other resources to figure out intricacies, all the while finding accomplices. He did almost give up his efforts several times from the moment he’d initially decided to go through with the rip-off around September 2004, only for everything to come together by January 2006. Bank Rio was ultimately looted under Fernando’s guidance on Friday the 13th, where he even left a note reading, “In a neighborhood of rich people, without weapons or grudges, it’s just money, not love.”

Where is Fernando Araujo Now?

From originally making officials believe they had a panicked group surrounded to the inflatable getaway rafts in the underground canal, every aspect of Fernando’s method worked out to a tee. Unfortunately, though, once a crew member’s wife willingly spoke to the police within weeks, he knew nothing could be done and hence began preparing for the legal proceedings while still on a retreat. There were reportedly no expansive efforts to recover the money (totaling over $20 million) owing to insurance/the bank’s agreement with victims, yet he did receive 14 years behind bars in 2010.

Fernando just served a year and a half of his robbery sentence before he was allowed to be released, and since then, the artist has ostensibly been doing his best to stay on the right creative path. From what we can tell, not only does he continue to teach martial arts at a local gym in his home province of Buenos Aires, but he’s also a screenwriter and producer contributing to projects on this coup for accuracy. The cannabis enthusiast, along with an entire team, was actually shortlisted for a Sur Award in connection to their work in the 2020 Ariel Winograd drama-comedy-thriller ‘The Heist of the Century.’

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