Pizza deliveryman Brian Wells moments before the collar bomb locked to his neck exploded, killing him instantly. He had just robbed a bank in Summit Township, outside Erie, Pennsylvania, on August 28, 2003. “I don’t have a lot of time,” Wells told the Pennsylvania State Police. ERIE TIMES-NEWS, COURTESY OF WJET-TV
Brian Wells heads out of the PNC Bank in the Summit Towne Centre after robbing it of $8,702. Wells is carrying the cash in a white canvas bag; in his left hand is a homemade cane-shaped shotgun. He had demanded $250,000 from the chief teller, but left with whatever money she could give him. ERIE TIMES-NEWS, via FBI
The Erie police’s bomb squad prepares to examine Brian Wells after the collar bomb locked to his neck exploded. The bomb squad arrived after the bomb detonated. JANET B. KUMMERER/ERIE TIMES-NEWS
The metal collar that held the bomb to Brian Wells was intact after the explosion; it operated like a large handcuff that was locked to his neck. The metal box that held the bomb mechanism was attached to the frame of the collar. Wells was to go on a scavenger hunt to find the keys to unlock. RICH FORSGREN/ERIE TIMES NEWS, via FBI
Ken Barnes is led into the FBI office in Erie, Pennsylvania, on July 12, 2007, three days after his indictment in the pizza bomber case. At left is ATF Special Agent Jason Wick; at right is the lead investigator in the case, FBI Special Agent Jerry Clark. JACK HANRAHAN/ERIE TIMES-NEWS
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, indicted by a federal grand jury in the pizza bomber case. ERIE TIMES-NEWS, via ERIE BUREAU OF POLICE Brian Wells, in one of the few photographs of him that was made public. This is from his driver’s license. RICH FORSGREN/ERIE TIMES-NEWS Ken Barnes, who would become Diehl-Armstrong’s lone co-defendant in the pizza bomber case. ERIE TIMES-NEWS
PIZZA BOMBER: THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICA'S MOST SHOCKING BANK ROBBERY
By Jerry Clark and Ed Palattella
On August 28, 2003, in the suburbs of Erie, Pennsylvania, a pizza deliveryman named Brian Wells robbed a bank with a time bomb locked around his neck. He said a group of men accosted him and forced him to carry out the heist. After delivering the money, he would receive clues to help him disarm the bomb. It was one of the most diabolical bank-robbery schemes in history, known by the FBI as COLLARBOMB, Major Case #203.
It did not go according to plan.
Wells, picked up by police shortly after the robbery, never had time to find the clues he needed. Investigating the crime after his grisly death, the FBI ultimately discovered that Wells was not, in fact, an innocent victim. He was merely the first co-conspirator to fall in a bizarre trail of death following the crime.
Jerry Clark, the lead FBI Special Agent who cracked what became known as the Pizza Bomber case, and Erie Times-News investigative reporter Ed Palattella, who followed it from the beginning, tell the complete story, from the inside, for the first time.
Pizza Bomber in the media
Book signing Saturday at Erie Barnes & Noble
» Jerry Clark and Ed Palattella will sign "Pizza Bomber" at the Barnes & Noble in Erie, 5809 Peach St., starting at 5 p.m.
"Pizza Bomber" talk part of National Library Week
» Jerry Clark and Ed Palattella will talk about "Pizza Bomber" during Erie's celebration of National Library Week.
Travel Channel Mysteries at the Museum
» "Mysteries at the Museum" features case, interviews Jerry Clark
Entertainment Weekly on the book
» Entertainment Weekly includes Pizza Bomber on their book review page