Episode 3 and 4 of Netflix’s Heist follows the true story of the 2005 Miami Airport Heist, a Brink’s truck robbery organized and perpetrated by Karls Monzon. And like all episodes, 3 and 4 unfold like a drug binge, beginning with cross-cutting rock and roll and ending with a morale spoken to somber piano music. The morale here is delivered by Brandy, Monzon’s ex-wife: “If I told you I’ll give you 7.4 million, but I will destroy your whole family, what would you tell me? Would you take the $7.4?” Monzon attempted to take the $7.4 million.
The theft was almost too easy. In broad daylight, outside Miami International Airport, Monzon made off with $7.4 million. Had everything gone to plan, Monzon and his accomplices may have never been apprehended. Of course, that’s not how these things go; someone always talks, someone always spends the dough, and someone always sits in front of a Netflix camera crew recounting for the umpteenth time their personal criminal story.
Here’s the story of Karls Monzon.
Who is Karls Monzon?
Monzon came to Miami from Cuba in 1989. “It was like going to another planet,” he told Netflix. “When I was in Cuba as a kid, I saw in movies and television that in the United States if you work hard, you can get what you want,” Monzon explained. “No matter how hard you work in Cuba, there was no future. That’s why I wanted to come to the United States.”
Monzon worked for a tow company. A coworker interviewed for the documentary said Monzon was a dedicated and hard worker. “The American dream for me has always been to have a house, a nice car, not an expensive one, just a nice one. And to have a family,” Monzon said.
Monzon met Brandy in the early ’90s. The two later married in 2002. After multiple failed pregnancies, the couple decided to adopt. But adoption was expensive. The couple’s inability to have a child led Monzon to pursue more extreme means of affording adoption. Pining after the American dream, wanting a family, failing to have a family—the sequence of events ultimately led Monzon to attempt a multimillion-dollar heist.
The target was a shipment coming through Miami International Airport. Monzon’s friend and Brink’s guard, Onelio Diaz, told Monzon a Lufthansa jet from Frankfurt, Germany, arrived every day to offload between $80 and $100 million. The bags of cash were then taken by Brink’s cars to the Federal Reserve after being inspected in a warehouse on the outside of the airport. Among others in Brandy’s family, Monzon recruited his brother-in-law, Jeffrey Boatwright, to hit the warehouse and steal the money. They did so on November 6, 2005, pulling up to the warehouse armed. They made off with approximately $7.4 million.
After the armed robbery, while Monzon attempted to lay low and not immediately spend the cash, Boatwright went on a spending spree, buying Rolex watches and frequenting strip clubs. Worried that Boatwright would attract the attention of authorities or other criminals, Monzon hired men to kidnap his brother-in-law and scare him. Monzon would hire these men a second time after Boatwright didn’t seem to get the message. This time, however, the kidnappers turned on Monzon, wanting to extract more money from him, and held Boatwright hostage.
Monzon then purchased an AK-47, thinking he would show up and kill the kidnappers. The FBI arrested Monzon before he could follow through with his plan. They had been on his trail for months and had already discovered Diaz and tapped Monzon’s phone. They then organized a rescue for Boatwright themselves and arrested him soon after the rescue.
Where is Karls Monzon now?
Monzon was sentenced to 17 years in prions. He served 9 years before being released in April 2016. He now lives in Miami and works as a truck driver.
In one of his first interviews after being released, Monzon told Salon that he got his GED while incarcerated. He also lost 160 pounds. He said the most difficult thing was “what my family went through. My mom almost died twice because she got a heart attack and my brother is sick, he’s got mental issues. My other brother, he went through a big accident and almost lost his legs. I was just like there was nothing I can do.”
Monzon told Netflix that he wanted Brandy to leave him. “A marriage needs two things: trust and respect. If you lose respect for you partner or stop trusting them, that’s not a marriage anymore,” Monzon explained. “When I went to prison, I said, ‘Move on with your life, because I’ll be in here for 17 years. I don’t want you to wait 17 years. Do what you have to do. Try to have a family.” She now has two children.
“This robbery cost me my American dream,” Monzon concluded.
In total, the FBI recovered only $1.2 million of the $7.4 million stolen.
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