Fake collar-bomb suspect faces extradition from US

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The Independent US

A man is due in court in the US to face extradition proceedings in connection with a fake bomb alert.

An FBI Swat team descended on a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky, to arrest the man who is alleged to have broken into a family's home in Australia and chained a fake bomb to a teenager's neck as part of an extortion ploy.

Luke Moore, of New South Wales Police, said 50-year-old Paul "Doug" Peters faces charges in Australia which include kidnapping and breaking and entering.

Officials said he will make his first appearance in court in Louisville today and the extradition process will take about two months.

His capture comes nearly two weeks after 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver was attacked in the wealthy Sydney suburb of Mosman.

She was alone when a masked man broke in, chained a device which looked like a bomb to her and left a note with demands before leaving.

Bomb technicians, negotiators and detectives rushed to the scene. Neighbouring homes were evacuated, streets were closed and medical and fire crews waited nearby.

Miss Pulver spent 10 terrifying hours chained to the device before the bomb squad was able to free her. She was not hurt, and the device was later found to contain no explosives.

Australia's prime minister said the event resembled "a Hollywood script".

Police said a note had been attached to the device, but they have not released details of what it said.

Mr Moore flew from Sydney to Louisville for the arrest, but would not go into detail about what led police to Peters.

"There was a range of pieces of evidence that led us to identify this suspect," he said at a news conference at FBI offices in Louisville.

Peters is an Australian citizen but has lived in the US, including Kentucky.

The Pulvers were relieved to hear of the arrest.

William Pulver, chief executive of an information technology company, described his daughter as "a bright, happy young woman who for reasons we still don't understand had her life turned upside down going through this dreadful experience".

"These past two weeks have been a very difficult time for us and we are hopeful that this development marks the beginning of the end of this traumatic ordeal for our family," Mr Pulver told reporters in Sydney, with his wife, Belinda, at his side.

The normally tranquil suburb of La Grange, about 30 miles (50km) north-east of Louisville, was taken aback at the sight of armed Swat members descending on their neighbourhood.

A man, who refused to give his name, told The Associated Press that his two daughters were indoors doing their homework when the Swat team "came in heavy and hard" to the house next door.

"We had guys with machine guns in our back yard," he said.

No shots were fired and no sirens sounded, he added.

He and his wife estimated that Peters had probably spent about six months out of the past two years at the house. They did not know him or his ex-wife very well but that there were no problems and they were both congenial. Peters had been involved in various businesses, but authorities would not elaborate on what they were.

An FBI investigator last night combed through items on shelves in the neat three-car garage of the five-bedroom, two-storey home which is on the market for 400,000 US dollars (£245,000), and there is no indication that Peters' ex-wife was involved in the case, Mr Moore said. She was not home when her ex-husband was arrested.

Authorities are still investigating why the suspect targeted the young woman, the officer added.

"This has been a baffling and frightening experience," said Mr Pulver. "It has tested us all."