|Victor Manuel Gerena|
|FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives|
Victor Manuel Gerena
(Computer Age Enhanced Photograph)
|Born:||June 24, 1958
|Charges:||Bank Robbery; Unlawful flight to avoid prosecution - Armed robbery; Theft from interstate shipment|
|Added:||May 14, 1984|
|Currently A Top Ten Fugitive|
Victor Manuel Gerena (born June 24, 1958) is an American wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the armed robbery of a Wells Fargo armored car facility, in connection with the Los Macheteros group. On May 14, 1984, he became the 386th fugitive to be placed on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He is still at large, and has spent the second longest time on the list since its inception in 1950 (surpassed only by Donald Eugene Webb). Gerena is believed to have lived in Cuba where his exact whereabouts and fate are unknown.
Gerena and his family, composed of his mother, four brothers and one sister, moved to Hartford, Connecticut from Puerto Rico when Gerena was very young. He enjoyed wrestling, winning many tournaments; he also played American football. Gerena also proved popular among girls in his high school. He was a good student, serving on the student council and was recommended to Trinity College.
Gerena met Marion Delaney, then a clerk for the U.S. House of Representatives, who became his friend and tutor. Delaney inspired Gerena to attend her alma mater, the Annhurst College, a female-only college that had faced harsh economic times and was by then accepting male students. There were 200 women at Annhurst and only 25 men.
Gerena was met with hostility by the college's superiors. Gerena returned home and began a relationship with an old friend that produced one daughter.
In Puerto Rico, Machetero leaders Filiberto Ojeda Rios and Juan Segarra Palmer had heard of Gerena; Gerena's mother's background as a pro-independence advocate and his dislike of life in the army made him, in Ojeda Rios' and Segarra Palmer's eyes, a candidate to become a member of Los Macheteros. They flew to Hartford and convinced the fame starved Gerena to help them with their cause by participating in the heist.
On September 12, 1983, Gerena dropped off his new girlfriend at City Hall, where she was to get a marriage license for the couple. He went to work, and spent the rest of the day with co-workers James McKeon and Timothy Girard. At some point, Gerena took off McKeon's gun, handcuffed and tied up his two co-workers, and then injected them with an unknown substance in order to further disable them. He put seven million dollars in the trunk of a car, then left with the money. At an unknown point, Gerena transferred to another vehicle and disappeared. Gerena may have been left with two million dollars for himself.
According to FBI investigations, Gerena was transported to Mexico, where he boarded a Cubana de Aviación jet at Mexico City International Airport in Mexico City, arriving at José Martí International Airport in Havana.
Years later, a Gerena relative would accompany journalist Edmund Mahoney to Cuba to try to find his whereabouts, but they did not succeed in finding him. Mahoney published a story in 1999 named Chasing Gerena.
In 2000, Gerena and other Macheteros leaders were offered pardons by President Bill Clinton. However, he remained on the FBI's ten most wanted list.
Many theories abound about Gerena's fate, most of them revolve around Cuban President Fidel Castro. It is said that Gerena could be living a rich man's life in Cuba after fleeting the United States, conversely, it is also said that Castro took the $2 million dollars Gerena was given and made Gerena live an extremely poor life in exchange for asylum, or that he was killed by Castro's men. Another theory has Gerena traveling to Florida and living there.
The reward for information leading to Gerena's capture is up to $1,000,000 USD.