It’s with a sense of both pride and wonder that I caught the top story last night on Anderson Cooper 360. There are new developments, everybody, in a case they’ve been following for four years.
Indictments are expected today in the strange, sad tale of the pizza guy who delivered a pie to an abandoned TV tower, walked into a nearby bank with a gun shaped like a cane, robbed it, and then died when the collar bomb locked around his neck blew up. This all went down in Erie, Pa., when I was working night cops for the paper there. The day it happened, the FBI and national media swooped in, the parking lot where the bomb exploded was roped off for seemingly miles. By the time I got to work, all we knew is that some bank robber had blown himself up while the Erie Bomb Squad was en route. About to print, one of my cop buddies pulled me aside and told me that the guy was possibly, maybe, blown up by someone else and we ran with it. For a while, this case was the FBI’s top unsolved domestic crime (finding terrorist cells still ranked higher) and, years later, agents are still trying to determine for certain if Brian Wells was a victim or a criminal.
I had not really kept abreast of CNN’s dogged pursuit of the case since my old paper has been busy getting scoop after scoop, so I was pretty shocked to see Anderson Cooper so exercised about it. He interviewed a local TV reporter, a close and personal friend, no doubt, of a former Erie TV reporter now co-anchoring CNN’s American Morning. So it looks like two people long under suspicion for their involvement with the pizza bomber will be charged. A video of the bomb going off, which CNN won’t show you, is on YouTube and other places (search for “pizza bomber” and “Brian Wells”). And in our second story tonight: Iraq.