Sept. 5, 2012 -- The infamous “Pizza Bomber” case, one of the few Major Cases in the FBI’s history, dates back more than nine years.
Brian Wells, one of the central figures, died after a bomb that had been locked to his neck detonated. Wells’ bizarre death, and the botched bank robbery that preceded it, attracted national and international media attention.
The passage of time has not diminished interest in the case.
Dr. Gerald C. Clark, who at the time was with the FBI and served as the lead investigator on the case, has co-authored a book with Ed Palattella, an investigative reporter with the Erie Times-News. Movie rights recently were secured for the book.
And today, Clark was interviewed about the case by Japanese television. He recently joined Gannon University as an assistant professor in the criminal justice program.
Bookmark Bookmark, Inc., a television production company in Irvine, Calif., sent a translator/coordinator and a cameraman for the interview. In addition, a producer/director from Japan traveled to Gannon for the interview. Bookmark Bookmark is serving as the project coordinator for Japanese television, which in October will air a short documentary, along the lines of “CSI.”
During the interview, held in Gannon University’s Palumbo Academic Center, Clark recounted the day of Wells’ death. Wells was a pizza deliveryman who had been lured to a remote area of Peach Street in Summit Township and ordered to rob a nearby bank.
After leaving the bank, Wells did not get far, however, and was arrested at 2:47 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2003. During the interview, Clark also recalled how the bomb detonated at 3:18 p.m.
Even from a distance of some 30 feet from Wells, Clark could feel the impact of the detonation. “Everyone was totally horrified at what we had witnessed,” Clark said.
Clark believes the case attracted so much attention in Erie and around the world for at least two reasons: its inherently unusual and bizarre nature, and the fact that footage of the bomb detonating was posted to video sharing sites.
The book co-authored by Clark and by Palattella is titled, “Pizza Bomber: The Untold Story of America’s Most Shocking Bank Robbery.” It is scheduled to be released in November.
Prior to joining the Gannon criminal justice department, Clark successfully defended his dissertation and earned a doctoral degree in public service leadership and criminology from Capella University. His dissertation topic was based on his involvement with the case and was titled, “Competence to Stand Trial: An Analysis of Intellectual Functioning and Psychiatric Diagnosis.”