Archive: 1983 Wells Fargo Robbery

February 8, 2008

Wells Fargo Fugitive Captured

The FBI Thursday captured a member of the militant Puerto Rico independence group Los Macheteros who disappeared 22 years ago after being charged in a $7 million West Hartford robbery that was then the largest cash heist in U.S. history.

February 13, 2008

Judge Rules For Gonzalez Extradition

A judge has ruled that an alleged member of a militant Puerto Rican independence group should be extradited to Connecticut to face charges in the $7 million, 1983 Wells Fargo robbery in West Hartford.

April 15, 2008

Feds: Wells Fargo Suspect Tied To Attacks

Federal prosecutors tried to link Puerto Rican nationalist Avelino Gonzalez Claudio to two rocket attacks in San Juan as they began an effort Monday to have him jailed as a threat and a flight risk while he awaits trial on charges of robbing $7 million from an armored car depot in West Hartford in 1983.

April 16, 2008


Suspect In '83 Wells Fargo Robbery Denied Bail

Over the more than two decades that he was the subject of an FBI manhunt, suspected Wells Fargo robber and militant nationalist Avelino Gonzalez Claudio moved easily in - and out - of Puerto Rico.

November 7, 1999


Chapter 1: The Untold Tale Of Victor Gerena

For the glory of the Puerto Rican motherland, for the approval of his mother, for an injection of meaning into his meaningless life, Victor Gerena went and robbed $7.2 million from the Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford -- more cash than anyone in U.S. history had ever stolen.

November 8, 1999

Chapter 2: A High School Star In `San Juan North'

Hector Mercado was going to lose. His wrestling talents were just no match for his all-state opponent. And everybody on the Bulkeley High School team knew it. Everybody, that is, except Victor Gerena.

November 9, 1999

Chapter 3: Growing Violence, Dwindling Fortunes

The Victor Gerena who appeared at Annhurst College was nothing like the young man who had shown such promise only months before, at Bulkeley High School in the gritty South End of Hartford.

November 10, 1999

Chapter 4: Code Name 'Junior': Spies, Cash, Cubans

Juan Segarra Palmer is an unlikely participant in a revolution by the downtrodden. But so are most other members of Los Macheteros. Unlike Victor Gerena, they were, for the most part, well-educated professionals, members of a demographic niche containing much of the tiny, if vocal, Puerto Rican independence movement.

November 11, 1999

Chapter 5: 'Aguila Blanca': The Robbery

Victor Gerena was getting his orders at a beat-up bank of pay phones bolted to the back wall of Arthur Drug on Hartford's Asylum Hill. He was plotting the country's biggest cash robbery from a 24-hour urban bazaar -- an unkempt collection of small-time drug dealers and uptown hustlers who referred to the phones at Arthur's as "The Office.''

November 12, 1999

Chapter 6: A Rocket Attack, An FBI Revelation

Six weeks after the Wells Fargo robbery, someone fired a rocket at the gray concrete federal building in Hato Rey at 7:45 on a Sunday evening.

November 13, 1999

Chapter 7: Secret Tapings, Bickering Revolutionaries

If a detective has to investigate a crime, it is better to have the criminals fight among themselves than to have them united in revolutionary solidarity. When they bicker, they dish the dirt.

November 14, 1999

Chapter 8: Two Kinds Of Prison

There are many kinds of prisons, and more than one way to stage a revolution. If the radical Puerto Rican independence movement has mellowed, so too have its leaders. Juan Segarra Palmer, mastermind of the $7.1 million Wells Fargo robbery, lives here in rolling citrus country, in a new federal prison wrapped in miles of razor wire so bright it reflects the central Florida sun like a curling, silver wave.

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