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Bomb-rigged robber still mystery

By Associated Press
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 3, 2003

ERIE, Pa. - The FBI asked for help Tuesday with the case of a pizza deliveryman who said he was forced to rob a bank and died shortly afterward when a bomb attached to his body exploded.

The FBI released photos on Tuesday of a triple-banded metal collar found around the neck of Brian Douglas Wells and the lock that kept it in place. The bomb hung from the lock over Wells' chest, authorities said, and they hoped someone would recognize the contraption and contact them.

FBI experts in Quantico, Va., are reconstructing the bomb and analyzing an extensive, multipage note that was used by the robber, said FBI Agent Bob Rudge. One part of the note was for bank employees, demanding cash, and the other part contained instructions for the robber.

Wells, 46, had gone to deliver a pizza Thursday to a mysterious address in a remote area about an hour before he turned up at a PNC Bank branch outside Erie with the bomb attached to him.

When police stopped Wells a short time later, he told them about the bomb and asked why authorities weren't helping to get it off him. Wells said someone - he apparently did give a name - had started a timer on the bomb and forced him to rob the bank.

The bomb exploded while authorities waited for a bomb squad to arrive.

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.

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, and officials said they did not know if his death is connected with Wells' case.

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