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Entries in Collar Bomb (3)

Thursday
Mar082012

Investment Banker Pleads Guilty in Fake 'Collar Bomb' Extortion Plot

Comstock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- An investment banker pled guilty Thursday to charges he broke into a Sydney, Australia, mansion and strapped a fake "collar bomb" around an 18-year-old girl's neck in a failed extortion attempt.

Paul Douglas Peters, 51, appeared in the Sydney courtroom by video link from prison, while his lawyer, Kathy Crittenden, entered the plea on his behalf.

Peters, a former Kentucky resident, reportedly entered the home of Madeleine Pulver in a wealthy suburb of Sydney on Aug. 3 wearing a ski mask and carrying an aluminum baseball bat. After telling her, "Sit down and no one needs to get hurt," Peters strapped a bomb-like device around the girl's neck. He then left her with a note and a computer thumb drive. The note gave instructions to transfer money to Peters and warned that the bomb would explode if removed.

After examining the device for more than 10 hours, police determined the "collar bomb" was a fake and removed it from around the girl's neck. Pulver was uninjured in the incident.

Pulver's father, Bill Pulver, is the chief executive of the software company Appen Butler Hill that specializes in voice recognition software, causing speculation that the extortion attempt specifically targeted the girl's family. Though Peters reportedly worked for a company linked to the Pulver family, they deny ever meeting him before. Observers have also speculated, however, that Peters may have been targeting an affluent acquaintance who also lived in the neighborhood and simply went to the wrong house.

New South Wales police and the FBI arrested Peters at the five-bedroom home of his ex-wife in a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky, on Aug. 15. He was later extradited to Australia where formal charges were made. Peters is a successful investment banker, whose international business caused him to travel often between Australia and the U.S. An Australian native, he had also worked in Hong Kong and Malaysia.

"A poor decision by one man has prompted a truly extraordinary and inspiring response from many thousands of people and we will be forever grateful," Bill Pulver said following Thursday's hearing.

Peters will appear in court later this month for sentencing and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug162011

'Collar Bomb' Suspect Overlooked Detail that Led to His Arrest

Paul Douglas Peters is now in federal custody after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team in La Grange, Ky. (Oldham County Jail)(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- The man who terrified an Australian teenager by placing a fake bomb around her neck inadvertently left a clue to his identity on a memory stick that included his demand for money, according to court papers released Tuesday.

A note left around the neck of 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver contained a cryptic email address and directions to contact the address for instructions on how to transfer a "defined sum" of money in order to get free of the bomb.

Attached to the fake bomb was a USB stick that included duplicates of the demand letter.

The email address and the "Paul P" identification would eventually lead police to the arrest of Paul Douglas Peters, 50, in Louisville, Ky., on Monday as the alleged collar bomb suspect.

After leaving the Pulver house in Mosman, a wealthy suburb of Sydney, the intruder checked the email address three times in two locations, a public library and a video store. Security camera footage showed a Range Rover at both of these locations and a gray-haired man in a button down and beige trousers that matched Pulver's description of her assailant.

The "Peter P" computer identification allowed police to limit the search for the owner of the Range Rover and track down Paul Douglas Peters who left Australia on Aug. 8 with a one-way ticket to Chicago.

Peters' credit card trail from the purchases of the USB stick, stationary, lanyard for the USB stick and a baseball bat that he used to threaten Pulver led investigators to Deborah Lee Peters, his ex-wife living in La Grange, Ky.

It was at her home that an FBI SWAT team arrested Paul Peters on Monday.

The connection between Douglas and the Pulver family is still unclear.

"The police have obtained information that Paul Douglas Peters was formerly employed by a company with which the victim's family has links," said the court document.

An official at the Department of Justice said Peters is an attorney in good standing in Australia and an investment banker.

Peters made his first appearance in federal court in Louisville on Tuesday for his arraignment. He is being held in the United States until his is eventually extradited to Australia.

Peters has been charged with breaking and entering with the intent to commit a serious indictable offense, demanding property by force with intent to steal, and kidnapping.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug152011

Australia Collar Bomb Hoax: FBI Arrests Man in Kentucky

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- U.S. officials have made an arrest in the case of a mysterious intruder who attached an alleged "collar bomb" to an 18-year-old girl in a wealthy suburb of Sydney, Australia.

Justice Department officials confirm that the FBI has made an arrest in Kentucky in connection with the Aug. 3 incident, in which Madeleine Pulver, the daughter of a cyber executive, spent 10 hours attached to the device before it was determined to be fake.

Australian media is reporting that the suspect is 52 and was arrested in a suburb of Louisville, Ky. On Aug. 3, an intruder in the Pulver home in Mosman, New South Wales, Australia attached the bomb to Madeline Pulver's body. Her father is the chief executive of a software company called Appen Butler Hill that specializes in voice recognition software, fueling speculation that she was the victim of an attempted extortion plot.

New South Wales state Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch said at the time that the motive was a mystery. "You would hardly think that someone would go to this much trouble if there wasn't a motive behind it," said Murdoch.

At around 2:30 p.m., police said, they went to the home in response to a call from an 18-year-old girl. There, a police bomb squad examined a suspicious device near the woman.

Four officers, including bomb specialists and police negotiators, were inside the house with the teenager to keep her calm as they examined the device.

The exclusive neighborhood was evacuated during the ordeal and people were told to stay away.

While the situation may be a first for Australia, similar scenarios have made news and found their way into popular culture in the United States.

In 2003, a Pennsylvania pizza delivery man named Brian Wells was involved in a bomb plot and bank robbery that resulted in his own death. Wells thought he was an accomplice of the men planning the bank robbery and that the device strapped to him would be a fake.

Wells was instructed to rob the bank and tell police that the device was forced onto him and that he was a hostage. However, the bomb turned out to be real and killed Wells when it detonated.

A similar story, in the form of a Hollywood comedy, was released to U.S. movie theaters on Friday. The film 30 Minutes or Less stars The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg as a pizza boy who is kidnapped by two criminals who strap a bomb to him and tell him to rob a bank or else they will kill him.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio