Was Brian Wells a Victim?
Christopher Seymour Professor Ann Burgess Victimology November 19, 2012
Early on the morning of August 23, 2003, Brian Wells walked into the Erie Pennsylvania PNC bank and calmly handed over a note to the teller –‘Gather employees with access codes to vault and work fast to fill bag with $250,000, you have 15 minutes.’ Wells picked up a dumdum lollypop and casually waited. He was armed with a shotgun disguised as a cane and had a large collar brace under his t-shirt that he claimed was a bomb. Quickly apprehended by Pennsylvania State Police, Wells claimed that three African American men forcibly attached the bomb to him, and he was ordered to rob the bank. Though a bomb
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While fleeing, Brian Wells stopped the car and retrieved a note from underneath a rock near a McDonalds drive-through. The Pennsylvania State Police handcuffed him in the middle of the road, secured a perimeter, contacted the bomb squad, and began listening to Wells’ elaborate story from a distance. Special Agent Gerald Clark, a bank robbery expert, was called in to supervise. Wells claimed he was the victim of a sick game, and needed help. Though attached to a bomb, Wells stayed very calm, even asking an officer to call his boss so he would not be fired for missing work. Twenty minutes later, the device began to beep. For the first time, Wells’ attitude began to change. He began panicking and telling officers that the bomb was about to go off if no one helped him. Unsure of any bomb procedures, the police waited for the bomb squad to arrive before taking any action. Unfortunately, the squad arrived three minutes too late. The beeping increased rapidly before the bomb exploded, blowing a fist size hole through Brian’s chest. Though the disaster was over, the police were only at the beginning of uncovering the truth behind this bizarre case.
SUMMARY OF THE INVESTIGATION
In the days following the incident, Special Agent Mary Ellen O’Toole was called in to act as co-lead on the case. Many questions remained unanswered.