It was the image of Brian Wells on his knees pleading calmly with the cops surrounding him with their guns drawn to help remove the lethal-looking device attached to his neck. "I don’t have a lot of time," he said as the crude kitchen timer ticked. "Why is it nobody’s trying to come get this thing off me?" That last, just seconds before the device exploded, killing him.
That did it for me, sparking a desire to know more about how this seemingly hapless pizza deliveryman from a middle-sized, mid-American city came to rob a bank and then be blown up on television.
But as bizarre as the tale first appeared, the truth is even more stunning and extraordinary. When the months-long FOX News investigation was over, the facts revealed a shocking and twisted tale.
*Catch "The Pizza Bomber Mystery" on FOX News Channel, Saturday August 20th, 10pm and 1am ET.*
As hard as it may be to believe, the pizza bomber himself became only one player in a story that includes, among other dark and fascinating characters, an Erie woman — valedictorian of a high school class that also included the current district attorney — who may be responsible for the deaths of four husbands and lovers, including one whose body ended up, at her request, stuffed in another man’s freezer. You can’t make this stuff up.
Because Brian Wells was killed by a bomb, much of the elaborate early investigation apparently centered on those modern-day bogeymen, terrorists of one stripe or another. Dozens of personnel representing multiple federal, state and local agencies were initially involved, including but not limited to the FBI, the ATF, the Pennsylvania state police, and the local bomb squad. Helicopters swarmed overhead as young agents in suits and dark glasses spoke in hushed tones into microphones hidden in their sleeves.
In retrospect, they may have gotten closer to the truth quicker by using a couple of grizzled old homicide detectives from Philly or Pittsburgh.
We believe that the dark heart of the pizza bomber mystery lies close to a small, strange group of lifelong Erie residents whose murderous histories and prior criminal behavior may have been overlooked, even after an apparently reliable eyewitness attempted to alert authorities to their possible involvement.
It’s not too late to break this case open. We believe this special report could be the beginning of the end of the mystery.
Geraldo Rivera currently serves as a roaming correspondent-at-large for Fox News Channel. He joined the network in 2001 as a war correspondent.