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Collar Key In Deliveryman Death (Erie pizza delivery bank robbery bomber)
CBS/AP ^ | 9-2-2003 | no byline

Posted on 09/02/2003 11:44:52 AM PDT by weegee

(CBS/AP) The FBI on Tuesday released photos of a metal collar found around the neck of a pizza deliveryman who robbed a bank and then was killed when a bomb strapped to his body exploded.

FBI Agent Bob Rudge said the bureau hopes that by releasing the photos of the collar and locking device, someone may come forward to help law enforcement solve the strange case.

A preliminary exam performed on the collar showed that it was likely not commercially manufactured, Rudge said Tuesday.

"We do not believe it has any legitimate industrial use," said Rudge. "Its most likely purpose was specifically for attaching the device to the neck of the individual that went into the PNC Bank.

Arrested Thursday after a bank robbery, Brian Douglas Wells told authorities someone had forced him to rob the bank. He told officers a bomb was attached to him, but he died when it exploded before the bomb squad could get there.

At a news conference Tuesday, Rudge showed photographs of the triple-banded metal collar he said was around Wells' neck and a lock that kept it in place. The bomb was attached to the collar, authorities said.

Police had surrounded Wells, 46, a short time after he robbed a PNC Bank branch outside Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania. Wells had gone to deliver a pizza to a mysterious address in a remote area about an hour before he turned up at the bank with the bomb strapped to his body.

When police stopped Wells, he told them about the bomb and asked why authorities weren't helping to get it off him. Police backed off and were waiting for the bomb squad when the bomb exploded. No one else was injured.

According to police and the FBI, Wells produced an "extensive" robbery note at the bank, which has been sent to handwriting experts. Rudge did not release any additional information about the note Tuesday.

I think there is a possibility of up to 80 percent that this individual is innocent," Professor Robert Heibel, a retired FBI agent, told CBS News Correspondent Mika Brzezinski.

Heibel said Wells likely was set up, a tactic more common to drug runners or terrorists than bank robbers.

"He was being threatened that if he didn't rob the bank, once they hung that device around his neck let's say, then he becomes their patsy," Heibel said. "There are a number of ways they could have convinced him that it is a live device and from there on he is really at their mercy."

Meanwhile, officials released information from an autopsy on one of Wells' co-workers, Robert Pinetti, 43, who was found dead Sunday at his home in nearby Lawrence Park Township. Authorities do not know if his death is connected with Wells' case.

Pinetti had a history of substance abuse and preliminary testing appeared to show methadone and "valium-type" drugs in his system, authorities said. There was no trauma, officials said.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: bankrobber; bankrobbery; bombsquad; brianwells; brianwellsdeath; conspiracy; crime; domesticbombing; erie; fbi; homicide; hostage; kidnapping; pennsylvania; pizzabomber; pizzabombing; pizzadeliveryman
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To: weegee
It looks to me like it was fashioned from a hub clamp like those used in hubbed sewer line installations.
41 posted on 09/02/2003 12:44:44 PM PDT by ping jockey (It only takes $.13 to do the job correctly.)
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To: weegee
The bloody thing reminds me of a locking device used to connect large diameter lengths of pipe, or for repairing a leak on the same type of pipe.
42 posted on 09/02/2003 12:45:55 PM PDT by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: ping jockey
my bad. hubbed = Hubless
43 posted on 09/02/2003 12:46:20 PM PDT by ping jockey (It only takes $.13 to do the job correctly.)
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To: weegee
"They didn't even get there in time". They travelled across two jurisdictions. Small towns like Eerie don't have their own bomb squad, like most small towns in America. They rely on their bigger city counterparts to provide that service.
44 posted on 09/02/2003 12:46:58 PM PDT by Peach (The Clintons have pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: Sacajaweau
According to another article, Wells told police the guy who put it on him had started a timer on the device, before sending him off to rob the bank.
45 posted on 09/02/2003 12:49:56 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: weegee
OMG I was out of town last week. I just herad about this. This is a few miles from my home.
46 posted on 09/02/2003 12:57:26 PM PDT by Diva Betsy Ross ((were it not for the brave, there would be no land of the free -))
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To: JLS
They had very little time to determine whether Wells' claim that someone else put it on him was true. Letting a guy who just robbed a bank and claims to have a bomb attached to him, go off wherever he says he has to go to lead police back to the "real perp", doesn't sound like good police practice. The real perp started out in a "remote location", such that he would almost certainly have been able to keep out of sight until he wanted to be seen -- and he would only have wanted to be seen if Wells was clearly alone and displaying the money. If Wells showed up with police in tow (and no, the police weren't going to let the bank robber with a bomb out of their sight), perp would stay out of sight 'til the bomb went off, then make his escape during the confusion.

The whole thing stinks, and the only lesson to be learned is that NO ONE should be making deliveries to unknown customers and/or locations without exercising his/her RKBA.
47 posted on 09/02/2003 12:57:44 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: weegee
Hubby's looking at the photo now...he says the top layer of the shackle part looks like the locking guide part of a circular saw or radial arm saw.
48 posted on 09/02/2003 12:57:58 PM PDT by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions = Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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To: Peach
I advise using a helicopter (possibly lifeflight type) to get to a location quickly. In an emergency (and a bombing is an emergency), time is of the essence.
49 posted on 09/02/2003 1:00:48 PM PDT by weegee
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To: weegee
The time to disarm was definitely not available, since the bomb squad - the only people who MIGHT have the expertise to disarm the thing - hadn't arrived before it went off.
50 posted on 09/02/2003 1:01:43 PM PDT by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions = Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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To: weegee
I would normally jump in this free for all with a snide funny comment, but I am really jolted by the shear horror of the crime. The animal responsible for this should get his own ticking collar. That would make a great pay for view special.
51 posted on 09/02/2003 1:06:01 PM PDT by Shmokey (Always be prepared)
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To: GovernmentShrinker
I guess my question is: Why didn't he drive to the nearest police station? and Was there a timer? or was it remotely detonated? or did he detonate it himself?. He had to get back to wherever and whomever to have it taken off. He wasn't with the cops very long.

so Damn...I just have a lot of questions but it sounds more and more like a "stupid criminal" thing and we're going to find out that this dude has a mile long rap sheet

52 posted on 09/02/2003 1:06:49 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: weegee
On another thread, someone has stated that the device is a security collar for a propane tank, to prevent tank theft. Attachments and adaptations aside, that seems believable to me, it looks like about the right size, and such a device certainly would have a lock to prevent theft.

53 posted on 09/02/2003 1:10:54 PM PDT by MainFrame65
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To: Sacajaweau
Per another article, Wells told police it had a timer.
54 posted on 09/02/2003 1:14:58 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: weegee
Strange case. This would be a pretty surefire way for someone who was trying to provide a nestegg for his family - either he gets away with the bank's money or, if caught, he detonates the collar & his insurance company pays up (I don't think insurance companies will pay out in the event the policy holder is killed in commission of a crime). I wonder what kind of life insurance he had.
55 posted on 09/02/2003 1:15:16 PM PDT by skeeter (Fac ut vivas)
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To: Sacajaweau
I don't blame the victim but as I told someone in an email exchange, if he had gone straight to the police he would have stood a better chance at getting the bomb removed.

The bomber had a patsy/dupe but he also had a witness. The pizza guy posed a threat. It was also dangerous for the bomber to disarm the bomb even if he knew how to remove it (it was a live explosive). Add to that any possible struggle from the pizza guy as it is being removed (by the bomber).

Safest move for the bomber would be to have the mark drop the cash in a safe place. Then have the pizza guy drive off to be apprehended by police or die in the wilderness (the mark would think that he was going to a location to have the collar removed).

Pre 9-11 we were told to comply with hijackers/carjackers/robbers. After 9/11 we learned that was not always in our or society's best interest.

The more people learn not to deal with terrorists, the less likely terrorists will be able to take advantage of us ("Do this and everything will be okay, we'll let you go").

A journalist was decapitated after he was forced to read a statement on camera.

56 posted on 09/02/2003 1:18:24 PM PDT by weegee
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To: GovernmentShrinker
From the photo of the device, it looks like the timer used an odometer of sorts to tick off the time (analog, not digital).
57 posted on 09/02/2003 1:19:46 PM PDT by weegee
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To: skeeter
The insurance policy doesn't necessarily have to benefit his family. Have we heard from any of his family?
58 posted on 09/02/2003 1:20:15 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: skeeter
I haven't heard reports of him having a family. He was a pizza delivery man in his 40s.
59 posted on 09/02/2003 1:20:53 PM PDT by weegee
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To: Sacajaweau
"I guess my question is: Why didn't he drive to the nearest police station?"

Fear for his life is a distinct possibility.

"and Was there a timer? or was it remotely detonated?"

According to police records, he stated it was a timer.

"or did he detonate it himself?."

That's one still awaiting an answer.

"He had to get back to wherever and whomever to have it taken off. He wasn't with the cops very long. "

He either had a set amount of time to deliver the cash to the mysterious third party in the hopes the timer would be shut off somehow, or he did set it off himself.

There are a LOT of unanswered questions. Like the delivery to an unknown location on a gravel road and the death of his coworker. This is one BIZARRE case.

60 posted on 09/02/2003 1:25:40 PM PDT by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions = Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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