Louisville: An Australian who allegedly
strapped a fake bomb to the neck of a Sydney schoolgirl in a
bizarre extortion attempt was tracked down here through his US
email account, authorities said.
Paul Douglas Peters was arrested by an FBI SWAT team in a
Louisville suburb, closing an investigative trail that led
across two continents -- starting in the suburban Sydney home
where a bat-wielding, masked intruder first accosted Madeleine
Pulver, 18, on August 3.
Peters was due in court in Louisville today on a
provisional arrest warrant by Australian authorities seeking
his extradition to answer charges of kidnapping, extortion and
aggravated breaking and entry.
An arrest complaint made public recounted how Pulver was
studying in her bedroom at her family`s luxury home in the
leafy suburb of Mosman when a masked man entered with a
"Sit down and no one needs to get hurt," the intruder told
her, according to the complaint.
He then proceeded to strap a black box to her neck with
what appeared to be a bicycle chain, it said. Attached to the
box was a lanyard at the end of which was a USB drive and a
plastic document sleeve.
The intruder then left, but Pulver still endured a 10-hour
ordeal in which police explosives experts tried to disarm the
box, believing it to be a bomb.
Inside the sleeve was a note that read: "Powerful new
technology plastic explosives are located inside the small
black combination case delivered to you. The case is booby
trapped. It can ONLY be opened safely, if you follow the
instructions and comply with its terms and conditions."
Included in the note was a warning not to alert
authorities but to await instructions for transferring a
"defined sum," and an email address -- firstname.lastname@example.org
-- for communicating with the intruder.
The address proved to be a vital clue in a trail of
evidence that prosecutors said led to Peters.
They determined the account was opened at an IP address
linked to Chicago O`Hare International Airport, and accessed
three times within two hours of the intrusion in Sydney, first
from a library and twice more from a video store.
Surveillance footage at the library and at a liquor store
next to the video store showed a middle aged man who fit
Pulver`s description of the intruder, according to the
The library video caught the man pulling up in a Range
Rover, which led investigators to a Range Rover registered in
Peters name. His name and address quickly led to the discovery
that he had flown out of the country to Chicago on August 8,
and then on to Louisville.