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New details emerge in Australian collar-bomb case

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Australian bomb hoax victim speaks
  • U.S. District Court documents reveal new details in collar-bomb case
  • Police used video and Internet records to link Paul Douglas Peters to case
  • Australian police plan to ask suspect be extradited

Louisville, Kentucky (CNN) -- Old-fashioned detective work has unraveled a complicated but flawed scheme to extort an Australian family by strapping a fake bomb to an 18-year-old woman, court documents reveal.

The documents were filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville, Kentucky, because the suspect was arrested near there Monday after allegedly leaving Australia last week.

Arrest in baffling collar-bomb case

Surveillance video, a memory stick and Internet records helped officials track down Paul Douglas Peters, 50, according to the complaint for provisional arrest.

Australian police plan to seek charges against Peters that include kidnapping, aggravated breaking and entering with intent to commit a serious indictable offense, and demanding property by force with intent to steal, according to the complaint. They are expected to ask for his extradition.

Authorities in Australia and the United States linked Peters to the case through files in a USB thumb drive that was attached to the fake bomb placed around the neck of the 18-year-old daughter of the targeted family, according to the complaint filed on behalf of Australian authorities.

FBI busts 'collar-bomb' suspect

On August 3, Peters allegedly broke into a home in Mosman, Australia, wearing a mask and carrying a baseball bat that he purchased using his own credit card, the complaint says.

He allegedly looped a black box around the young woman's neck, claiming in an accompanying note that it contained "powerful new technology plastic explosives," according to the complaint. He instructed the family to contact an e-mail address for further instructions.

Authorities were able to determine the e-mail account was created May 30 at a Chicago airport, when Peters was traveling there. It was accessed only three times, all in the hours following the break-in, police said. One access occurred at a library in Kincumber, Australia; the other two were at a business in Avoca Beach, Australia.

Each of the log-ins coincides with the video-recorded arrival of a man resembling Peters at the library and near a video store where the account was accessed, according to the complaint.

The USB drive draped around the victim's neck also contained a file that had been created on a computer named "Paul P," according to the complaint. Analysis of the memory stick showed an undeleted PDF file that contained "an exact replica of the demand letter that was left" with the young woman, it said.

Deleted files included letters of demand and references to explosive devices and demands for money, the complaint alleges. The documents were signed off with the suspect e-mail account.

Video showed a silver Range Rover parked near the library at the time of the incident. Police learned it was made between 1996 and 2001, according to the complaint. A search of Ranger Rovers on record in the area led police to Peters' address, according to the complaint.

The investment banker left the country August 8 for Chicago and subsequently traveled to Louisville the next day, the complaint states. On Thursday, an FBI agent spotted Peters in the back yard of his former wife's residence in Buckner, Kentucky, and arrest warrants were issued by Australian authorities on Friday and Saturday.

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