It was never known with certainty the reason for the fight or what “came from before” so that that afternoon they braided with blows and that one of them, seeing that he was not having a good time, ended it with a deadly knife. It was a difficult mystery to unravel.

Neither the relatives, nor the neighbors, nor the acquaintances of the neighborhood knew how to give certainty to the police. Everyone was left with the opinion of “They could not even be seen”. They even went so far as to say that the matter of the dogs had not been so bad, that neither one nor the other had become a problem for a fight between animals. But that suited both of them like a glove.

At the end of July 1986, a crime on the occasion of a fight moved the neighborhood of Villa Elvira but hit hard in other areas of La Plata life since the deceased was a well-known and loved person.


They called him Sabella, for his admiration for the then 10 Students who that year already agreed to return to that club after passing through Brazil. And also because, both physically and in the way of treating the ball, it was quite similar to him beyond the distances between the courts that each one traveled, of course.

Mario “Sabella” Imas was 37 years old when Alberto Barrera, 45, pierced him with a kitchen knife that he had run to look for a while before, seeing that Imas did not miss any of the punches he was throwing at him. The fight had started in the courtyard of the house that they shared in 76 between 115 and 116 when the dogs of one and the other braided each other.

After the tragedy, with the Monday newspaper, the informants appeared. That they could not even be seen, that they hardly spoke to each other. To make matters worse, one said that Barrera was not interested in football so there could not even be a minimal possibility of connection there. But it was clear that something was wrong.

A witness said that Barrera, who was a bricklayer, was “Very taken” when the fight occurred. If that had been the case, the emotion quickly sobered him up because after a while, when the police arrived, he pointedly denied having been the author of the knife and even dismissed himself with an alibi.

“Sabella” Imas was an amateur boxer. He had made some fights in the neighborhood circuit of those years and had earned a certain fame in Saturday rings such as Chacarita Platense or Athens itself. She shared passion between gloves and soccer and was a familiar face in the neighborhood tournaments that were held in “Court of 11” on the premises of the National College.


When it was learned of his death, samples of regret rained down from different corners of the city, loaded with phrases that painted him as a good guy, meek, gaucho. Where perhaps his death was most regretted was at the La Plata Hippodrome where he worked. In his last days Imas was in charge of the organization and care of the parking lot in the Official Box area. He was in charge of accommodating the cars to avoid clogging and in that also he behaved like a kind and polite guy.

When he arrived at the Polyclinic there was nothing to do. He had lost a lot of blood.

His killer was about to get away. He acknowledged having fought with Imas over the matter of the dogs but swore and perjured that the thing ended there. Seeing that Imas was a boxer, he decided to retire so as not to continue receiving blows. And then he went to work and when he came back he found out that his rival had been stabbed.

But it was sold by a neighbor who two days after the crime, perhaps overwhelmed by guilt, dared to tell that he had seen Barrera hide something in some pasture behind the house.

And it was the knife. And that single evidence was enough for Barrera to panic and end up confessing.

But beyond acknowledging that he had been the author of the stab, Barrera did not say another word.

The resolution of the mystery about the reason for the fight came shortly after from a testimony that caused surprise.


It was given by Dona Hilaria Sosa, an 84-year-old woman who had always cared for “Sabella” as if she were her son, even though he had always called her grandmother. The woman said that Barrera was her partner, that the man, despite the 40 years of age that separated them, had lived there in that condition for a long time.

It was not difficult for the investigators to understand that there was the reason for the fight. Sabella Imas did not tolerate her grandmother’s coexistence with Barrera and he knew it. It was a silent hatred, the kind that is chewed slowly and there is no way to swallow.


With stories of crimes from tapped phones it can be sweet, because there are so many and varied. But few caused the concern and even the psychosis of the television service case. Strictly speaking, it was always believed that it was not a single criminal but at least two others who had managed to set in motion an oiled mechanism to get hold of other people’s televisions.

The story of the service had numerous victims, at first silent, but soon after they began to make noise. And that noise became everyday talk.

“I called the service, a short dark-haired boy came and told me it was the plate. And he gave me two options: either I would fix it here or I would take it to the workshop “.

Imas did not tolerate her grandmother’s coexistence with Barrera and he knew it

The difference between one option and another was 12 or 48 australes. That was the comfort of the service returning with the spare part and going to work at the home of the patient. All opted for the second chance. In those days, it was money to reckon with. And the difference was also that when the service took the television, it did not appear anymore.

The victims then called the phone where they had made the repair request. And the answer chilled them.

“It can’t be, ma’am. If we still haven’t stopped by your house “.


It was clear then that someone had advanced the official service and had taken the device.

José M. Villabrille was at that time secretary of the Sub Commission of Official Services of the Chamber of Merchants of Household and Related Articles of La Plata. From that entity they acknowledged receipt of what was happening and came out to say that among the main harmed by the maneuver were two renowned services: Carlos Monastra and Virgilio Daros.

The robberies took place in the homes of clients of these two specialists, oblivious to the maneuver.

The police investigation pointed from the start to the hypothesis of the delivery man. And he searched among employees and relatives, but there was no case. The first clue appeared as the first clues usually appear when luck helps.

“The phone makes a strange noise”It was the first signal that an employee of one of the affected services gave.

“It makes like a fry and an echo”he said, when asked for more details.

The talk stayed there, among other inconsequential conversations but with the passing of days and the noises on the phone, it occurred to someone to consult someone “Understood on the subject”.

A brief technical analysis showed that someone had managed to tap the telephone numbers of the services and listen and write down the complaints. Another technical opinion was much more moderate although the police did not close him. It was said that chance had wanted the service phone to be linked with another. And this is how the false technicians took notes and spent at least one day before the date agreed with the client. That way they got the televisions.

The investigations did not advance much further and it was hardly possible to establish that one of the technicians was “Dark and short” and he was moving in a van F 100 “Red with creamy ceiling”.

While it lasted, the story of the service did a lot of damage and remained in the anecdote of the crime from La Plata.


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