Australian collar bomb suspect arrested in US

A man wanted in Australia for allegedly strapping a fake bomb to the neck of a teenage girl earlier this month was arrested near Louisville on Monday, authorities said.

Paul “Doug” Peters, an Australian national who police in New South Wales were seeking to apprehend in connection with the sensational bomb hoax, was taken into custody without incident, the FBI said.

Peters had been staying at the home of his former wife outside La Grange, Kentucky, about 25 miles northeast of Louisville, the FBI said.

On August 3, a man wearing a balaclava broke into the suburban Sydney home of Bill Pulver, the wealthy chief executive of Appen Butler Hill, a company that makes speech recognition and text-to-speech software.

The only person home was Pulver’s 18-year-old daughter, Madeleine.

The man strapped a device to the girl’s neck which he claimed was a bomb he could detonate by remote control, and left behind a ransom note.

He also reportedly told the girl the device had a microphone that allowed him to monitor her conversations.

The girl summoned help anyway and after a 10-hour ordeal, officers were able to remove the device, which turned out to be harmless.

“As you can imagine, this is not something that we deal with every day in Sydney, or anywhere else I would suggest for that matter,” Luke Moore, a detective superintendent for the New South Wales police force, told reporters at a news conference in Louisville following the arrest.

Investigators are still trying to determine why the Pulver family was targeted, Moore said.

“Of course they are relieved that a suspect has been arrested and I think like all of us await the outcome of the court process,” he said.

Peters, who authorities believe left Australia on August 8, will make an initial court appearance on Tuesday in Louisville, and Australian authorities will seek to have him extradited to face charges in the bomb hoax, the New South Wales police force said.

He at one point lived in the United States “for some years”, Moore said. — Reuters

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