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Unraveling the Mystery: The Brian Wells Collar Bomb Robbery

The Brian Wells collar bomb case is a tragic incident that occurred in 2003 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Wells, a pizza delivery driver, was forced to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to his neck, which eventually detonated and killed him. The investigation led to the arrest of several individuals, including Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong and Kenneth Barnes, who were charged with bank robbery and conspiracy. The trial raised questions about the mental state of the individuals involved and bomb technicians handling such situations

By RamPublished 12 days ago 4 min read
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On August 28, 2003, a man named Brian Wells walked into a PNC Bank in Erie, Pennsylvania with a bomb strapped to his neck. He handed the teller a note demanding money and warning that the bomb would detonate if he didn't receive it quickly. The teller complied, and Wells left the bank with $8,702. He was stopped by police a short time later and, as they attempted to arrest him, the bomb exploded, killing Wells instantly.

The incident quickly became a media sensation, as the bomb was unlike any that had been seen before. It was made from a variety of materials, including a metal collar, a homemade detonator, and a timer. It was clear that whoever had built the bomb had a significant amount of knowledge about explosives.

As the investigation into Wells' death began, it quickly became clear that there was more to the story than just a simple bank robbery gone wrong. Wells had been a pizza delivery driver, and it was discovered that he had made a delivery to a remote location just prior to the robbery. It was there that the bomb had been strapped to his neck, and he had been given the demand note and instructions on how to carry out the robbery.

The investigation led to the arrests of several individuals, including Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong and Kenneth Barnes. Diehl-Armstrong was a former girlfriend of Wells and had a history of mental illness. She was charged with bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Barnes, a convicted felon, was charged with aiding and abetting the robbery.

The trial for the case was a long and complicated one. The prosecution presented evidence that Diehl-Armstrong had been the mastermind behind the robbery, using Wells as a pawn in her scheme. They argued that her motive was to raise money to pay for her father's funeral. The defense, on the other hand, argued that Diehl-Armstrong's mental illness played a significant role in her actions, and that she was not capable of planning and carrying out such a crime.

In the end, Diehl-Armstrong was convicted of the charges in 2010 and is currently serving a life sentence in federal prison. Barnes pleaded guilty and testified against Diehl-Armstrong in exchange for a reduced sentence.

The case of Brian Wells and the "collar bomb" robbery remains one of the most bizarre and perplexing crimes in recent history. The bomb itself was a work of engineering, and it is clear that whoever built it had a significant amount of knowledge about explosives. The fact that Wells was forced to participate in the robbery under threat of death also adds a twisted element to the crime.

The investigation and trial also raised questions about the mental state of the individuals involved, particularly Diehl-Armstrong. The defense argued that her mental illness played a role in her actions, but the prosecution maintained that she was fully aware of what she was doing. This case also highlights the issue of how society views and deals with individuals who have mental illnesses and how it affects their criminal responsibility.

Whatever the motivations of the individuals involved, the crime left a community and a family in shock and mourning. Brian Wells was a father and a grandfather, and his death was a tragedy. While the investigation and trial brought some closure to the case, the memory of the "collar bomb" robbery will likely remain a dark chapter in the history of Erie, Pennsylvania. The case also serves as a reminder of the potential dangers that come with being a pizza delivery driver, and how one can never be too careful when it comes to their personal safety.

The "collar bomb" robbery also raised questions about the way law enforcement handles such situations. The bomb technicians were not able to safely disarm the bomb, and the decision was made to let it detonate, leading to the death of Wells. This incident sparked a debate on the protocol and training of bomb technicians in handling such situations, and whether or not a different approach could have been taken to potentially save Wells' life.

Furthermore, the case also highlighted the disturbing trend of using innocent people as pawns in criminal schemes, showing the depths that some individuals will go to in order to carry out their criminal plans. This is a reminder of the importance of being aware of one's surroundings and to report any suspicious activity to the authorities.

In conclusion, the Brian Wells collar bomb case remains a tragic and perplexing event that shook the community of Erie, Pennsylvania and left a family mourning the loss of a loved one. The case serves as a reminder of the dangers of being a delivery driver and the importance of being aware of one's surroundings. It also raises important questions about the treatment of individuals with mental illnesses and their criminal responsibility, as well as the protocol and training of bomb technicians in handling such situations. The memory of this crime will continue to be a dark chapter in the history of Erie and serves as a cautionary tale for all.

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About the Creator

Ram

Hey! This is Ram, I'm a writer, singer, engineer with lots of dreams. I used to write about the things with my own interpretation and from my readings.

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