FBI Suspects Helpers in Bizarre Penn. Heist


ERIE, Penn. -- Investigators said Monday they were confident a pizza deliveryman did not act alone when he robbed a bank with a bomb locked to his neck that went off moments later and killed him.

But whether Brian Douglas Wells was a willing participant or somehow "duped" into participating remained a mystery, FBI (news - web sites) agent Bob Rudge said.

"We still don't know if it's a murder investigation," Rudge said.

The idea that Wells acted alone is now the "least likely scenario and we are to the point where we have discounted that as a possibility," he said.

Wells, 46, was stopped in his car, arrested and handcuffed Aug. 28 following a PNC Bank robbery near Erie, but was killed when the bomb attached to a collar locked around his neck exploded while he and police waited for a bomb squad.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Wells locked the bomb onto himself, or if it was locked onto him by someone else who forced him to rob the bank.

Authorities continued to search for two men seen nearby running through traffic about 45 minutes after Wells died. The FBI released sketches of the two men, saying it was not known if they had anything to do with the case.

Wells told police when he was arrested that someone had locked the bomb around his neck, started a timer on the bomb and forced him to rob the bank. He said he was given a note with detailed instructions.

On Monday, investigators released a map of four locations listed in the note where Wells was allegedly supposed to receive further instructions.

One location was a restaurant sign just feet from the bank, near where Wells was sitting in his car when police found him. Two others were wooded areas along major roads within a few miles of the bank. Another was beneath an interstate underpass.

The two men seen darting through traffic were near locations mentioned in the note, authorities said.

People who knew Wells have said he couldn't have acted alone. They have described him as a quiet man of average intelligence who had little ambition outside of listening to music and working part-time in his pizza delivery job.

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recommended Investigations

Join the discussion