The True Story Of A Pizza Delivery Guy, A Bomb Collar, And A Bank Robbery

On August 23, 2003, Pennsylvania resident Brian Wells delivered his last pizza. At the location of his delivery, Wells allegedly was coerced into strapping an explosive around his neck with instructions to complete four tasks in exchange for his life. The first objective was to shake down a PNC Bank, which Wells tried to comply with. It was not meant to be a harmless stickup, as the people who affixed the device to Wells gave him a homemade single barrel. However, Wells didn't harm anyone before police stopped the getaway car. Wells begged for help as he was being handcuffed before the device went off, ending his life on the spot.

The police were stunned by the bizarre and elaborate Collar Bomb Heist (CBH). But what was even more shocking were all the twists and turns discovered after Wells's passing. Brian Douglas Wells, a high-school dropout, skyrocketed into the media spotlight as the CBH pizza deliveryman. Read on below to find out the crazy facts about how Wells ended up the infamous pizza deliveryman from Erie, PA.

  • Brian Wells Was In On It, Until The Device Was No Longer Fake

    Wells helped plan the holdup and was by all accounts a willing participant until he was told that the device was real - not fake, as he'd been led to believe that it would be. They gave him a cover story to tell the police, instructing him to say that he was a hostage and that three Black men forced the collar on him. The people who strapped the device on him believed the police would think Wells was an innocent victim and that Wells would conceal the identities of his real accomplices. 

    However, none of this worked out as planned. As soon as Wells learned the device was real, he tried to back out. His accomplices held him at gunpoint, even firing a shot in the air as a warning to Wells, before securing the device around his neck and sealing his fate.

  • He Worked As A Pizza Deliveryman For Nearly 30 Years

    He Worked As A Pizza Deliveryman For Nearly 30 Years
    Photo: Evil Genius (2018) / Duplass Brothers Production/Last in Line Pictures/Netfllix / Fair Use

    After dropping out of high school, Wells spent much of his adult life delivering pizzas. In fact, he did it for nearly 30 years. He had been working for Mama Mia Pizza-Ria for the last 10 years in Erie, PA, prior to the incident. His co-workers and bosses described him as a reliable, hardworking employee, which made what came next even more baffling.

    Around 1:30 PM on August 28, 2003, he delivered an order to a phony address that turned out to be a TV transmission tower. There, the device was placed around his neck and he received his instructions. Later on, police went to the address and combed the scene, finding Wells's footprints and the tire tracks from his car, but little else. 

  • He Carried A Wooden Cane That Had Been Turned Into A Single Barrel Shotgun

    When the police searched Wells's car, they found a wooden cane that had been turned into a shotgun. Reportedly, this was given to him by his co-conspirators, just in case things went south when he was in the bank. Wells carried the homemade single barrel with him while holding up the bank.

    He handed a note to the teller, demanding $250,000, but the teller told him they didn't have access to that amount. Wells ended up walking out with under $9,000

  • The Device Was Professionally Made, But Consisted Of A Number Of Different Objects

    Police investigators and experts examined the collar device after the incident and came to the conclusion that it was professionally made. The device was on the clasp of the collar, which meant that it would detonate with any attempt to remove it. There were also fake wires attached, designed to confuse anyone trying to disarm it.

    Several kitchen items were also part of the design, as well as a countdown timer. Essentially, it was two incendiary pipes connected by a bunch of extemporaneous pieces and attached to a collar.