Saturday, February 17, 2007

Official: Erie collar-bomb case solved



PITTSBURGH (AP) - Federal authorities have figured out how a pizza deliveryman wound up in the middle of a bizarre bank robbery scheme that ended with a bomb around his neck exploding, and the identities of the plotters, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

Brian Wells, 46, robbed a suburban Erie bank on Aug. 28, 2003, with the bomb attached to his neck and then was killed when it exploded as he sat handcuffed in a parking lot while police waited for a bomb squad.

No one was charged as authorities struggled to determine who was behind the plot and whether Wells was an innocent victim or willing participant.

But the case has been solved and indictments are expected, likely by next month, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan was to make an official announcement at a Friday afternoon news conference.

The law enforcement official told the AP that Buchanan would not disclose what the investigators concluded, but would say that the government is confident they know how and why Wells died.

"The government knows what happened the day of the incident. We know all the details that led up to the death of Brian Wells and all the parties involved," the official said.

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