FBI Focuses on Collar Bomb in Pizza Man's Death
ERIE, Pa. – Agents investigating the bizarre death of a pizza deliveryman are now focusing on the collar-like bomb that was locked around his neck, authorities said at a press conference Tuesday.
The triple-banded metal collar is "unique and sophisticated," FBI Special Agent Bob Rudge said, adding that it appears to have been specifically designed for this incident and features four locks and a dial combination.
But it remains a mystery how the collar became locked around the neck of Brian Douglas Wells (search), 46, who answered a delivery call Thursday to a mysterious address in a remote area and ended up about an hour later at a bank wearing a bomb.
The FBI has asked that anyone who has information on the incident call 1-866-219-2008.
• Warning: Graphic Video
“We are literally working around the clock on this case and are covering leads on an hourly basis," Rudge said. "We will go forward until we are successful and resolute."
Authorities said they are still awaiting test results from evidence, including pieces of the bomb and the bank-robbery note, sent to an FBI (search) lab in Quantico, Va., according to Ken McCabe, an FBI agent investigating the case.
An autopsy was conducted Monday on Wells' co-worker Robert Pinetti, 43, who called paramedics Sunday morning and said he wasn’t feeling well but then refused treatment. Pinetti was later found dead in his parents’ home, where he lived.
Authorities said Tuesday that Pinetti had a history of substance abuse problems and that a drug overdose had not been ruled out. Pinetti was being tested for methadone and Valium-like drugs which may have caused his death.
“We really don’t have any information that would conclusively link the two deaths together,” Rudge told Fox News Monday, adding that police were not discounting any possibilities.
Ticking Time Bomb
As the time bomb ticked, Wells tried in vain to convince police, who were waiting for the bomb squad to arrive, that he was forced into the crime. He died when the explosives detonated.
Erie's WJET-TV captured audio and video from Wells as he sat handcuffed in front of a state police cruiser.
"Why is nobody trying to come get this thing off me?" he asked.
The tape shows Wells telling authorities someone had started a timer on his bomb under his T-shirt, and that there was little time left.
"It's going to go off," Wells said. "I'm not lying."
A state police spokesman confirmed Friday night that Wells had made a number of statements, including that he had been forced to rob the bank.
Wells' boss and one of the owners of Mama Mia's Pizza-Ria (search) outside Erie, who asked that his name not be published, said Saturday he took a call Thursday for a delivery but didn't recognize the address given.
He put Wells on the phone to get directions. Wells left to make the delivery and never returned, the pizzeria owner said.
The address of the delivery was a rural spot along a main drag that runs south of the city, where a gravel road leads to a television transmission tower.
According to police, Wells entered the PNC Bank (search) branch outside Erie on Thursday afternoon and produced an "extensive note" demanding money and said he had a bomb.
Wells left with an undisclosed amount of money and got into his car. Police surrounded him a short time later in a nearby parking lot, pulled him out of his car and handcuffed him, authorities said.
The bomb exploded about 40 minutes after he entered the bank.
No one else was hurt in Thursday's explosion, which happened in front of law-enforcement officers as they waited for a bomb squad (search) to arrive.
McCabe told Fox News Monday that FBI handwriting experts were still comparing the note Wells showed bank tellers during the robbery and samples of Wells' handwriting to determine if there was a match.
Authorities obtained a search warrant and took evidence from Wells' home, but a state police spokesman refused to say what was taken.
McCabe said the most unusual feature of the bank robbery was that the bomb was wrapped around Wells' neck.
“This is probably one of the most dangerous bombs to try to defuse," McCabe explained. "The bomb squad would have to do a hand entry and use their hands and tools and try to get it off.”
Rudge called the case unusual, noting that while bank robbers sometimes claim to have a bomb, few actually do.
Linda Payne, who owns the property where Wells lived, described him as a private, trustworthy person who liked music and cared for three cats. He was a friend of Payne's husband, who also had been a pizza deliveryman, she said.
"I couldn't believe that he would rob a bank. He doesn't care that much about money," Payne said. "I think somebody lured him into that place delivering a pizza, dropped a bomb on him and sent him into the bank ... He would not have decided to do that on his own."
The Associated Press and Fox News' Amy C. Sims contributed to this report.