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 today.
A note left around the neck of 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver contained a cryptic email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 in Word and on a PDF.
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.
Collar Bomb Hoax Suspect Allegedly Left Behind Digital Clue
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 this morning 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.
The court documents also detail the terror experienced by Madeleine Pulver when Peters allegedly invaded her home while she was studying on Aug. 3.
Pulver "saw a man carrying a black aluminum baseball bat and wearing a striped, multi-colored balaclava over his head, walk into her room. The man told her that he was not going to hurt her. Alarmed, [Pulver] stood up, retreated, and asked the man what he wanted."
The intruder told her, "sit down and no one needs to get hurt." When she sat down, she noticed he was holding a black box.
"He forced the box against her throat and looped a device similar to a bike chain, which was also attached to the box, around her neck," said the document.