The Erie Times-News
ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- The sister of a pizza deliveryman who died when a
bomb locked to his neck exploded minutes after he robbed a bank has
written a letter pleading with the people she believes are
responsible for his death to turn themselves in.
"I am saddened that those responsible haven't come forward to confess
their evil. I pray and fast for those involved to be brought to
conversion, to unburden themselves ... to be caught and brought to
justice," Jean Heid wrote in a letter to the Erie Times-News.
Heid's brother, 46-year-old Brian Wells, died Aug. 28 when a bomb
hung from a collar around his neck exploded as he sat handcuffed,
minutes after he robbed a PNC Bank branch in Summit Township, south
of Erie. While surrounded by police, Wells told officers a man had
locked the bomb to his neck, started its timer and forced him to rob
A rambling note warning to "cooperate and you will survive" and a
cane-shaped gun were found in his car.
Last week, nearly six months after Wells died, his death was ruled a
homicide. But law enforcement officials haven't ruled out that he may
have been a willing participant in the crime, rather than a pawn.
Heid and other relatives, however, doubt the soft-spoken Wells would
have volunteered for the crime.
"I don't know who killed Brian so mercilessly and callously but I do
know that they meant to kill him and they are still present among
us," Heid wrote. "The grief and heartache they have caused is
Ted and John Wells, Brian's brothers, have said they believe their
brother had no knowledge of the scheme, let alone knew his captors.
They believe a group of men chased his brother through the woods,
fired a shot at him and clamped the device around his neck when he
made his last delivery of the day -- two pizzas to a television
"When you have a gun fired at you and you're unarmed, what are you
supposed to do?" Ted Wells told the newspaper in a story published
Investigators said they have made progress in the six months since
the bizarre case topped national headlines and a federal and state
task force of 50 toiled around the clock chasing leads. But no arrest
has been made, and no suspect publicly identified.
The FBI has released portions of the nine-page set of instructions
and photographs of the bomb collar and the cane-shaped firearm found
in Wells' car.
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The agency has also released sketches of people seen in the area,
made random traffic stops and set up a tip line that has yielded
nearly a thousand calls. A $50,000 reward for solving the case