Top-down view of a male lying on the floor of a jail cell.
Collar bomber Paul Peters is in federal custody, pending extradition to Australia. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Casey Serin/Flickr)

Paul Douglas Peters, the 50-year-old man accused of affixing a collar bomb to the neck of 18-year-old Australian teenager Madeleine Pulver in a suburb of Sydney, has been apprehended by the FBI outside Louisville, Ky., reports the Guardian. Peters was captured at his ex-wife’s house by a joint task force consisting of an FBI Swat team and Australian police. Authorities were able to trace him using an email address he’d left on the ransom note on the collar bomb – a bomb that turned out to be fake.

Paul Peters had connections to victim’s father

Tuesday, Aug. 16, a U.S. judge ordered Paul Peters, a father of three, to be held pending extradition to Australia for an Oct. 14 hearing. Peters is an attorney and investment banker who once worked for a company with ties to the business of Madeleine Pulver’s father William Pulver, an Australian Internet executive.

According to court documents, Peters entered the Pulver family home at 2:15 p.m. on Aug. 3 with his face concealed by a balaclava-style ski mask. After entering her bedroom, he threatened Madeleine Pulver with a baseball bat. Peters strapped the intricate-looking collar bomb that ultimately bore no explosives to her and told Madeleine Pulver to count to 200. A flash drive and a hand-written ransom note were attached to the device. In addition to the Gmail address that led to Peters’ capture, the note read in part as follows:

“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. … You will be provided with detailed Remittance Instructions to transfer a Defined Sum once you acknowledge and confirm receipt of this message.”

In total, the collar bomb scare lasted for 10-plus grueling hours. The wealthy Sydney suburb was evacuated as a precautionary measure. After the Australian bomb squad performed an exhaustive examination of the device, it was determined to be safe and was removed from Madeleine Pulver’s neck.

Signed, Dirk Struan

Paul Peters’ ransom note was reportedly signed “Dirk Struan,” the main character in the 1966 James Clavell novel “Tai-Pan.” Authorities noted that the Gmail address the Pulver family was instructed to use to obtain further information on ransom demands was accessed three times, all on the afternoon of the home invasion.

The account was created on May 30 from an IP address traced to a Chicago airport. Further IP investigation traced access to a computer at the Kincumber Library in Gosford, New South Wales, as well as an Avoca video store nearby.

FBI stormed in ‘heavy and hard’

Reports from neighbors near Peters’ ex-wife’s home in the Louisville suburb of La Grange indicate that the FBI swooped in without warning “heavy and hard” to the house next door. Not shots were fired.

“We had guys with machine guns in our back yard,” said the neighbor.

Paul Douglas Peters apprehended by FBI in Kentucky


Christian Science Monitor:



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