Muscle and mayhem: The real-life story behind Miami's murderous Sun Gym gang

Group of bodybuilders at center of one of Miami's most notorious crimes: a complicated and deadly plot that involved kidnapping, money and murder

Produced by Chuck Stevenson, Jamie Stolz, Tamara Weitzman and Alicia Tejada

(CBS News) MIAMI -- Zsuzsanna Griga will never forget the kidnapping of her brother, Frank, and his girlfriend, Krisztina Furton in 1995.

"...he loved fast cars, beautiful girls and life," Griga said. "She was very beautiful. She was only 23 years old. My heart breaks when I think of what she went through."

Felix Jimenez, now retired from the Metro-Dade Police homicide department, was the lead detective on the case.

"Very handsome couple, they looked like they were made for each other," Jimenez explained. "Frank was the American success story -- an immigrant, came to this country with $10 dollars in his pocket and made millions."

He came from Budapest, Hungary, and found a minimum wage job in New York City.

Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton
Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton

"It was like a service station ... he was changing the oil, washing cars," Zsuzsanna Griga explained. "What he accomplished ... should make everyone proud because he went from nowhere to a millionaire on his own just by using his own resources."

In fewer than 10 years, Frank was living in an upscale Miami enclave called "Golden Beach" and running a phone sex line empire. He was on top of the world until May 24, 1995.

"I started calling him and he wouldn't pick up the phone," Zsuzsanna Griga said. "I kind of knew that something really bad happened then..."

The disappearance of Frank and Krisztina would become one of Miami's most notorious crimes. But who would want to kidnap them?

"How did this all go down?" Roberts asked Jimenez.

"So we got a call that there was a missing -- a wealthy couple that was missing out of Golden Beach," he explained. "That was a little strange because in homicide we need a crime scene. We need a dead body to respond to. They're few and far between when there's actually a missing person that we would respond. It has to be highly suspicious circumstances. And it so happened in this case there was."

At first, the detectives hoped they could find Frank and Krisztina alive.

"...the missing Hungarian couple had said that they were going to the Bahamas the -- the-- following day. So all their friends assumed that the reason they weren't home was because they were in the Bahamas," said Jimenez.

All that changed, though, when a police made a stunning discovery.

"Their Lamborghini was found in an abandoned, wooded area far outside of Miami," said Jimenez.

"At this point, we realized that something bad -- something bad had happened to this couple," said Sam Garafalo.

Garafalo, also retired, worked the case for his boss, Felix Jimenez. They are now both CBS News consultants.

"We got information and -- as soon as we got it, we ended up going to Golden Beach," he said.

"So you have a missing Hungarian couple and a Lamborghini," Roberts noted.

"We had more than that. We had a next door neighbor ... that had actually been to the house the last time they were seen alive and they invited her in and introduced her to two muscle-bound men that were driving a gold Mercedes and told them they were going out to dinner to discuss a business deal," said Jimenez.

The neighbor would tell police she'd met the driver of the gold Mercedes and knew his name: Danny Lugo.

"Danny was a big muscular guy," said Jimenez.

Police would soon learn that Lugo was a burley ex-convict who had served time for running a phony loan scam operation. After his release, he became the manager of a suburban Miami health club called Sun Gym.

"This is where the Sun Gym was located. This is what we would call the gang headquarters," said Jimenez.

"Danny Lugo was a Puerto Rican-Cuban kid from the Bronx," added Garafalo.

"He thought he was smarter than anybody else," Jimenez added. "He had a way of convincing people to do things they didn't want to do."

The investigation into Frank and Krisztina's disappearance continued. Detectives learned Lugo was the leader of a group made up of drifters and petty thieves who hung out at the Sun Gym. His main partner in crime was another muscle head, Adrian Doorbal.

"Adrian Doorbal was Danny Lugo's protege," said Jimenez.

"Doorbal was just an evil, he reminded me of just an evil guy," said Garafalo.

"He was a steroid freak. ... He's like 5 foot 7 tall and 5 foot 7 wide," Jimenez continued. "He'd do anything and everything that Danny Lugo told him to do."

In May 1995, Danny Lugo and Adrian Doorbal would be at the center of one of the most notorious crimes in Miami history: a complicated and deadly plot that involved kidnapping, money and murder.

Eighteen years later, the story was too much for Hollywood to resist. In the new movie "Pain and Gain", Lugo is portrayed by Mark Wahlberg.

The film, released by Paramount Pictures, is part of Viacom, a company affiliated with CBS.

The movie captures what Lugo was about in real life: his infatuation with getting rich, says Patty Barrientos, who worked alongside him at a gym.

"He'd say... 'I'm gonna have a lot of money... I wanna grow, I wanna be somebody very big...'" said Barrientos.

Asked if he was money hungry, Barrientos told Roberts, "Yes."

With the little money he had, he spent a lot of it at the Solid Gold Strip Club. It was here he began an affair with a one-time Penthouse model-turned exotic dancer named Sabina Petrescu.

"She was a very, very attractive woman," Jimenez said. "She fell for Danny and believed everything he told her."

Petrescu was another recent immigrant who made a splash in Miami. She was a finalist in the Miss Romania contest in 1990, then came to the United States to begin a modeling career. She made it onto the pages of Penthouse magazine, but filled the rest of her time as an exotic dancer.

"Danny treated her well ... he gave her a BMW," said Jimenez.

Petrescu would play a crucial role as police continued gathering more evidence connecting Lugo and Doorbal to the disappearance of Frank and Krisztina.

"We have the housekeeper who was also at the home when the -- the musclemen were there. We have the next door neighbor. We show them photographs. They make identification. So we have a lot to go on," said Jimenez.

Search warrants were executed for the homes of Lugo and Doorbal and their associates.

"I mean we had so many cops it wasn't even funny," said Garafalo.

"... in fact we mobilized right in this park," Jimenez pointed out.

Police quickly hit pay dirt in the apartment of Danny Lugo's girlfriend.

"There was some damning evidence there ... bloody clothing belonging to Frank and Krisztina, there was the kidnap kit -- a case with duct tape ...guns, [stun guns], handcuffs -- there was so much evidence in that apartment," said Jimenez.

Soon Adrian Doorbal was in custody and refused to talk to police.

"The main guy that we're after, Danny Lugo, is nowhere to be found," said Jimenez.

Danny Lugo had given them the slip.

More From 48 Hours

Comments