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Posted: 9/4/2008 6:38:16 AM EDT
Key Part of Bank Robbery Lore Is False, Prosecutors Say
By SEAN D. HAMILL
Published: September 4, 2008


ERIE, Pa. — In one of the most bizarre crimes in recent memory, a pizza deliveryman walked into a bank near here five years ago and gave a teller a note saying a bomb strapped to his neck and torso would detonate if he was not given money.

The man, Brian D. Wells, walked out with $8,702, got in his car and was stopped almost immediately by state police troopers. Minutes later, the bomb exploded, killing Mr. Wells.

Before he died, Mr. Wells, 46, told the troopers that he was an unwilling participant in the crime. He said a group of black men had abducted him as he was delivering two sausage-and-pepperoni pizzas and forced him to rob the bank by strapping the bomb on him.

Since that day, residents of the area have wondered whether Mr. Wells’s story was true or something he fabricated to cover up his involvement in the crime.

On Wednesday, the authorities made it clear that the story was a lie. They based their conclusion on information from Kenneth Barnes, 54, a former television repairman, who pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two counts — conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and using and carrying a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence. Mr. Barnes was seeking to avoid a life sentence by promising to testify against his only surviving co-defendant, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, 59, who is being held on a prior murder conviction but is currently deemed incompetent to stand trial in this case.

Mr. Barnes is facing a minimum 30-year sentence, but could see that cut substantially if he cooperates, which is appropriate given his minimal role in the bank robbery, his lawyer, Alison Scarpitti, said.

“This wasn’t his brainchild,” Ms. Scarpitti said. “From the beginning, he wanted everyone to know he never intended anyone to get hurt, including Brian.”

The Wells family — particularly Mr. Wells’s younger brother John, who maintains a Web site seeking to clear his brother’s name, brianwells.net — contends that Mr. Wells was forced into taking part.

But in federal court on Wednesday, Marshall J. Piccinini, the assistant United States attorney overseeing the case, laid out details of Mr. Wells’s direct involvement.

Much of it came from Mr. Barnes, who began talking to investigators three years ago and eventually told of planning meetings that were attended by all of those involved, including Mr. Wells.

Other witnesses not involved with the conspiracy confirmed to investigators many of Mr. Barnes’s accounts. The day before the robbery, one witness said, he saw Mr. Wells driving his car behind a fourth conspirator, William A. Rothstein, who died in 2004, and the others near Mr. Rothstein’s home. Mr. Barnes said they were leaving the last meeting planning the robbery.

Though prosecutors knew those details a year ago, they could not disclose them until now, Mary Beth Buchanan, the United States attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said.

“The Wells family certainly has a much more complete story of what happened leading up to that day,” Ms. Buchanan said.

John Wells did not reply to telephone messages left for him Wednesday.

Liveleak video of the bomb collar exploding
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 6:40:09 AM EDT
interesting.  that was certainly one of the weirder things i've heard of happening.  
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 6:42:04 AM EDT
stupid games stupid prizes
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 6:45:07 AM EDT
If he was involved I just could never fathom why he'd use a real bomb and not a fake....
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 6:45:46 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 6:46:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2008 6:47:15 AM EDT by 57Strat]
I am curious why Wells would use a real bomb around his neck instead of a fake bomb, and THEN detonate it, if Wells was the one who planned the robbery?
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 6:48:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 57Strat:
I am curious why Wells would use a real bomb around his neck instead of a fake bomb, and THEN detonate it, if Wells was the one who planned the robbery?


+1

This is the devilish detail that bothers me.
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 6:48:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 57Strat:
I am curious why Wells would use a real bomb around his neck instead of a fake bomb, and THEN detonate it, if Wells was the one who planned the robbery?


A rather important question.
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 6:50:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 57Strat:
I am curious why Wells would use a real bomb around his neck instead of a fake bomb, and THEN detonate it, if Wells was the one who planned the robbery?


+1

It doesn't make any sense. Banks train their people to hand over the money with no resistance. He could have gotten the money with a fake bomb or note.
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 6:59:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hrt4me:
Key Part of Bank Robbery Lore Is False, Prosecutors Say
By SEAN D. HAMILL
Published: September 4, 2008


ERIE, Pa. — In one of the most bizarre crimes in recent memory, a pizza deliveryman walked into a bank near here five years ago and gave a teller a note saying a bomb strapped to his neck and torso would detonate if he was not given money.

The man, Brian D. Wells, walked out with $8,702, got in his car and was stopped almost immediately by state police troopers. Minutes later, the bomb exploded, killing Mr. Wells.

Before he died, Mr. Wells, 46, told the troopers that he was an unwilling participant in the crime. He said a group of black men had abducted him as he was delivering two sausage-and-pepperoni pizzas and forced him to rob the bank by strapping the bomb on him.

Since that day, residents of the area have wondered whether Mr. Wells’s story was true or something he fabricated to cover up his involvement in the crime.

On Wednesday, the authorities made it clear that the story was a lie. They based their conclusion on information from Kenneth Barnes, 54, a former television repairman, who pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two counts — conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and using and carrying a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence. Mr. Barnes was seeking to avoid a life sentence by promising to testify against his only surviving co-defendant, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, 59, who is being held on a prior murder conviction but is currently deemed incompetent to stand trial in this case.

Mr. Barnes is facing a minimum 30-year sentence, but could see that cut substantially if he cooperates, which is appropriate given his minimal role in the bank robbery, his lawyer, Alison Scarpitti, said.

“This wasn’t his brainchild,” Ms. Scarpitti said. “From the beginning, he wanted everyone to know he never intended anyone to get hurt, including Brian.”

The Wells family — particularly Mr. Wells’s younger brother John, who maintains a Web site seeking to clear his brother’s name, brianwells.net — contends that Mr. Wells was forced into taking part.

But in federal court on Wednesday, Marshall J. Piccinini, the assistant United States attorney overseeing the case, laid out details of Mr. Wells’s direct involvement.

Much of it came from Mr. Barnes, who began talking to investigators three years ago and eventually told of planning meetings that were attended by all of those involved, including Mr. Wells.

Other witnesses not involved with the conspiracy confirmed to investigators many of Mr. Barnes’s accounts. The day before the robbery, one witness said, he saw Mr. Wells driving his car behind a fourth conspirator, William A. Rothstein, who died in 2004, and the others near Mr. Rothstein’s home. Mr. Barnes said they were leaving the last meeting planning the robbery.

Though prosecutors knew those details a year ago, they could not disclose them until now, Mary Beth Buchanan, the United States attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said.

“The Wells family certainly has a much more complete story of what happened leading up to that day,” Ms. Buchanan said.

John Wells did not reply to telephone messages left for him Wednesday.

Liveleak video of the bomb collar exploding


That video doesn't show the collar exploding.

Here is a video of the bomb detonating
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 7:02:01 AM EDT
The facts are kind of hazy on this story.
Back when it happened, I read all I could find on this and don't remember the "black men" part.

Here's the story on Fox News:Pizza Bomber

Here's a quote from that story:

Rothstein helped make the time bomb that killed Wells and phoned in the pizza order used to lure Wells to a secluded spot on a dead-end road, the indictment said.


That doesn't sound like Wells was in on it.

If he was in on it, and used a real bomb, he was dumber than a rock.
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 7:07:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By CanteTinza:

That video doesn't show the collar exploding.

Here is a video of the bomb detonating


slo-mo replay if you didn't cath all the body parts flying the first time
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 5:02:47 PM EDT
Thanks for posting the updated video.

I think Wells, if he was part of the scheme, did not have a way to stop the bomb from detonating at that point.
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 5:08:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VoodooChile:

Originally Posted By CanteTinza:

That video doesn't show the collar exploding.

Here is a video of the bomb detonating


slo-mo replay if you didn't cath all the body parts flying the first time




Hadnt seen that before
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 5:12:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 57Strat:
I am curious why Wells would use a real bomb around his neck instead of a fake bomb, and THEN detonate it, if Wells was the one who planned the robbery?


Possible double cross by his partners?
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 5:12:32 PM EDT
Live bomb was "plan B" to kill the one guy who could unravel the true conspiracy?
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 5:17:39 PM EDT
I assume they used a real bomb so when the police took it off, as he seems to expect they will do, the story will be corroborated.  Sort of makes sense... I guess it is important to remember, if you want to understand this story, that bank robbers as a group aren't very smart to begin with.  Don't 95% of them get caught?
Link Posted: 9/4/2008 5:37:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CavVet:


The Black guy did it story.

And boy does that guy get around.



There's an interesting twist to your second link.  A scholarship fund was set up by Carol Stuart's family:


In Carol Stuart's memory, her family established the Carol DiMaiti Stuart Foundation to provide scholarship aid to Mission Hill residents. By early 2006, the foundation had awarded $1.2 million to 220 students.


There was a infamous murder in NYC in 2006, and, coincidentally, the young woman was a recipient of the scholarship.



One recipient of the scholarship who was also a murder victim in New York City was Mission Hill graduate 24-year old Imette St. Guillen.


It was an interesting story because it was one of the bouncers (Darryl Littlejohn) at the bar that raped, tortured and murdered her (Wiki link).  He was a total scumbag who was no stranger to prison life:



(The name's different because it was an alias.)


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