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Australian Collar Bomb Suspect Arrested In Ky.

LAGRANGE, Ky., Aug. 16 (UPI) — An Australian man was arrested in Kentucky for an alleged hostage-taking incident near Sydney in which a fake bomb was locked around a teen’s neck, police said.

Elizabeth Fries, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kentucky office, said Paul Douglas Peters, 50, of Sydney, was arrested Monday after members of an FBI SWAT team and Australian law enforcement officers stormed a home near LaGrange, Ky., The (Louisville) Courier Journal reported.

Peters allegedly broke into the family home of 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver Aug. 3, strapped a fake bomb around her neck along with a note making financial demands, then fled, police said. Australian bomb squads spent about 10 hours trying to remove the device before learning it was fake.

Australian authorities said they tracked Peters to the United States after learning he flew from Sydney to Louisville Aug. 8, said Luke Moore, superintendent and commander with the Robbery and Serious Crimes Unit of the New South Wales, Australia, Police Force.

“There were a range of pieces of evidence that led us to identifying the suspect,” Moore said at the news conference Monday, adding that Peters faces kidnapping and breaking-and-entering charges in Australia.

Peters was taken into custody in the home of his former wife, who wasn’t home at the time and isn’t believed to be involved in the alleged crime, police said.

An e-mail account accessed at a library reportedly was the breakthrough in the case, The Telegraph in Sydney reported. The same e-mail address was in the extortion note.

Part of the investigation will center on the links between the Pulver family and Peters, the Australian newspaper said. While Peters had some connection to the Pulver family, no “direct links” have been found and police don’t believe he was inside the Pulver home before the incident, Assistant Commissioner Dave Hudson said.

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