The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 3, 2012

Two write book on collar bomb case

PITTSBURGH — An FBI special agent who was nearby when a bomb locked onto the neck of a northwestern Pennsylvania pizza delivery driver exploded in 2003 has written a book about the case.

The collar bomb crime has joined the Lindbergh baby kidnapping on the FBI’s list of major cases. It’s the subject of the book written by since-retired FBI agent Jerry Clark and Erie Times-News reporter Ed Palattella.

The book recounts the bank robbery plot that unraveled when the collar bomb Brian Wells was wearing exploded shortly after his arrest.

“Pizza Bomber: The Untold Story of America’s Most Shocking Bank Robbery” will be released Tuesday.

Clark, now retired, said going to work in his hometown, Erie, as an FBI agent was “the most proud day of my life.”

A mentally ill Erie woman with a history of violence, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, was the only plotter to stand trial. She’s serving life in federal prison for her 2010 conviction. Diehl-Armstrong, 63, was acquitted of killing a former boyfriend in 1984 after claiming he abused her and pleaded guilty but mentally ill in 2005 to killing another lover, James Roden, who would link her to the Wells case.

Another of her former boyfriends, William Rothstein, died of cancer before the 2007 collar bomb indictments and denied any role in separate death bed interviews with Clark and Palattella.

But prosecutors contend Rothstein, a former high school shop teacher, built the scrap-metal bomb collar.

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