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FBI releases photos in Pennsylvania bomb case

FBI photos of the collar device, top, used to secure a bomb to Wells' neck and the lock, bottom, used to keep the collar in place.
FBI photos of the collar device, top, used to secure a bomb to Wells' neck and the lock, bottom, used to keep the collar in place.

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Bank robbery
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
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The FBI displays photos of the collar bomb that killed pizza delivery man Brian Douglas Wells. CNN's Mike Brooks reports (September 2)
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(CNN) -- The FBI on Tuesday released photos of a steel collar used to secure a bomb to the neck of a pizza deliveryman killed last week after robbing a bank in Erie, Pennsylvania.

FBI Special Agent Bob Rudge said the bomb's locking device was unique, sophisticated and has "significant lead value" to investigators.

Additionally, a law enforcement source told CNN that the FBI Tuesday evening returned to search a remote area around a television transmitter site for possible clues in the case. Agents also scoured the tower location Friday.

The deliveryman, Brian Douglas Wells, had gone to the remote area to deliver a pizza, according to his boss, and showed up at the bank an hour later with the bomb attached to him. Investigators have been unable to determine any commercial use for the mechanism, Rudge said.

Law enforcement sources told CNN the device was a pipe bomb. The FBI said it had released the pictures of the collar hoping that someone will remember seeing it somewhere before the robbery.

"We feel this device was made uniquely for the incident at hand," he said. "We are hopeful that by showing a picture of the device, someone may recognize the instrument, the metal, the locking material used to secure it to the neck and, certainly, call us with that information so that we can further examine the details of its construction."

Investigators also said they had found no direct connection between the death of Wells and the later death of a friend and co-worker.

Wells, 46, was killed Thursday afternoon when a bomb attached to the collar exploded after a bank robbery. Wells had told police he had been forced to rob the bank.

After the robbery, Pennsylvania State Police stopped Wells, handcuffed him and sat him down on the ground, safely away from others. Police then called a bomb squad, but the device exploded before bomb technicians arrived, killing Wells.

A task force of federal, state and local investigators is looking into whether Wells was a hostage or willing participant, said Cpl. Mark Zaleski, a Pennsylvania State Police spokesman.

The collar around Wells' neck included a series of locks near his throat and was "obviously designed by the individual who intended to affix it," Rudge said.

Police handcuffed and isolated Brian Douglas Wells, who had said he was forced to rob a bank.
Police handcuffed and isolated Brian Douglas Wells, who had said he was forced to rob a bank.

Wells carried a note for bank employees during the robbery and another one that included instructions for him. Both notes are being examined for any fingerprints, handwriting, hair or fiber evidence they may yield, Rudge said.

Though previous bank robbers in the area have told tellers they had a bomb, "This is the first time that a device has actually exploded," Rudge said.

In addition, Zaleski said investigators have found no connection between Wells' death and the death Sunday morning of a co-worker, Robert Pinetti.

Erie County District Attorney Bradley Foulk said an autopsy found no sign of disease or injury, but preliminary drug tests indicated the presence of methadone and depressants similar to Valium in Pinetti's system.

Taken together, those drugs "could lead to respiratory depression, which could result in an accidental or intentional drug overdose," Foulk said. "[But] we do not know that this is positively the case at this time."

Final test results could take more than a week, he said.

Authorities received a call requesting medical assistance be sent to Pinetti's home early Sunday. Pinetti refused treatment, and his parents found him dead about 9 a.m.

Investigators looking into the bank robbery also assisted in the probe of Pinetti's death.

"At this time, no connection has been made linking Mr. Pinetti with the bank robbery that occurred on Thursday," Zaleski said. "Investigators are continuing to explore any link between the two individuals."


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